TheMarauders

The Marauders #4 – Barnes and Noble Teen Book Fest

I solemnly swear I am up to no good. *Tap*

Welcome to a brand new feature!! The Marauders is a feature where three book blogger friends share their many exciting adventures! Whether it be sailing the Charles River, ritualistic sacrifices in Salem, scaling the face of the Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire, or simply visiting a local independent bookstore, it’s bound to be a blast! Our grand adventures take place along the six states that encompass the vast and wonderful New England. Join me, Marci of The Plot Bunny, and Nicole of Nicole’s Novel Reads as we bring you along on our adventures, but keep track of us, for sometimes we shed our human forms and revert to our animagus forms! (Don’t worry, we’re registered!)

Our June adventure was not New England specific! Barnes and Noble hosted their first B-Fest Teen Book Fest. Hundreds of authors appeared in Barnes and Nobles nationwide! There were creativity panels, author signings, games, and a major swag giveaway! Nicole, Marci, and I only attended the swag giveaway. We had planned to come back for the games, but you’ll see later what held us up.

Marci and I arrived early – we were very ready to get our hands on STALKING JACK THE RIPPER ARC. We arrived at 9:30 and the giveaway wasn’t until 11. We grabbed some breakfast at the B&N Cafe. I was very sad as they didn’t have my new obsession – the pink drink! Have you tried Pink Drink yet?

We then found the Young Adult section of the book store and began to browse. Marci was telling me about THE MUSEUM OF HEARTBREAK by Meg Leder. She had just finished reading her ARC copy and she loved it! A five star read from her. You can read her review here.

SourceBooks Fire had a cutout in the store advertising THE CABIN by Natasha Preston. Marci and I both took our pictures and tweeted them on Twitter!



Shortly after we posted our photos to Twitter, Nicole arrived! The Barnes and Noble we were at had a balcony, so when we got a text from her saying she was here, we creeped on her from above! Hehe, sorry Nicole! The event was a little late to get going. At 11AM, the table was out and they started spreading out all the swag!


Photo Courtesy of Marci

We all grabbed our loot piles. I was lucky to grab an ARC of STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco. I also grabbed the FIERCE READS Coloring Book!

Then we were off, across the street, to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch! I unfortunately didn’t like the meal I picked, but I made up for it by ordered a huge slice of chocolate fudge cake! Marci and Nicole luckily enjoyed their meals and their desserts!

As we were leaving Cheesecake Factory to enter the mall, we noticed that it had downpoured! Thankfully we missed the rain by being inside. Next stop, The Disney Store!

I love going into The Disney Store because I’m a kid at heart! Star Wars, Snow White, Winnie The Pooh, and Captain America GALORE! Who are your favorite Disney characters?

We walked into the store and I know that I felt like a child in a candy store. There was so much to look at, so much I wanted to take home with me! We immediately started hugging the stuffed animals and taking photos.


LEFT: Marci looks like a princess in that beautiful gown. Nicole and Olaf are staying cool. You can call me Captain Phasmabeth. RIGHT: Nicole and NEMOS! Marci and Stitch! I stacked Captain America Tsum Tsums!

We left The Disney Store and were on our way to back to Barnes and Noble for the second part of the event: GAMES!

. . .We didn’t make it though. We walked into the rabbit hole otherwise known as Claire’s (So much nostalgia). Much hilarity ensued.


Alcohol was not involved. We’re just FUN people!

By the time we got back to Barnes and Noble the games had ended. So we decided to walk around and grab books that we want to recommend for Summer Reading!

I recommend: WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord, SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L Schneider, and TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han.

Nicole recommends: LOVE & GELATO by Jenna Evans Welch, FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell, and ALL THE FEELS by Danika Stone.

Marci recommends: THE MUSEUM OF HEARTBREAK by Meg Leder, WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT by April Genevieve Tucholke, and LOVE CHARMS AND OTHER CATASTROPHES by Kimberly Karalius.

Woah, that was a long post, thanks for sticking to the end. I hope you enjoyed this month’s Marauders post. Our next post will be the first week of August. It might cover some very special event occurring on the last day of the month, having to do with a very special book series. Like, perhaps the EIGHTH book. . .or something. HEHE!

*Tap* Mischief Managed.

Updates!

Since I was young, I’ve been reading all kinds of books. I read picture books, middle grade books, young adult books, and adult books, too! This is a habit that has stuck with me into my mid-twenties. My library check-out history proves it!

I don’t think it’s a surprise that I’m a huge Joe Hill fan. Joe Hill is an adult horror novelist. His latest novel THE FIREMAN released May 17th (and debuted at number 1 on the NYT Bestselling list!!) and I had been eager for it’s release.

I passed the halfway point in THE FIREMAN on Saturday and I realized I wanted to share my thoughts on Book Yabber. So I took to Twitter and asked blog readers:


As you can see the results are unanimous!

Here’s a glimpse at what’s to come:

I just finished THE FIREMAN, so expect that review soon. I’m currently reading 20th CENTURY GHOSTS. I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK. It just released this week, so the library hold list is kind of out of control.

I realize those are all horror titles. Most of what I read in the adult genre is horror and I’m also currently on a horror kick. I do read some adult science fiction, so there will be so variety in the future. Do you have any favorite adult books?

I’ve jazzed things up a bit with new graphics, new colors to make things POP! I quite like the way it all looks. I hope you do too! I’m still working on some minor changes.

Also, I’m going to put in more of an effort to update the Book Yabber Facebook page. If you’d like, give it a “like” to stay up to date on posts! I’d love to have you!

I’ve got a new feature starting in August and I can’t wait to share it with you, so be on the lookout for that.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading!


Let me know in the comments if you’re excited for adult reviews, the new look, and/or an updated Facebook page! Thanks for reading and stopping by!

Fantasy Review: CURIOSITY HOUSE: THE SHRUNKEN HEAD by Lauren Oliver & H.C.Chester



CURIOSITY HOUSE: THE SHRUNKEN HEAD by Lauren Oliver and H.C.Chester
Published: September 29 2015 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Pages: 368
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – LOVED it!
Goodreads Synopsis: What you will find in this book:

– A rather attractive bearded lady
– Several scandalous murders
– A deliciously disgusting Amazonian shrunken head
– Four extraordinary children with equally extraordinary abilities
– A quite loquacious talking bird

Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events. When the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts.

This sensational new series combines the unparalleled storytelling gifts of Lauren Oliver with the rich
knowledge of the notorious relics collector H.C. Chester.

What you will NOT find in this book:

– An accountant named Seymour
– A never-ending line at the post office
– Brussel sprouts (shudder)
– A lecture on finishing all your homework on time
– A sweet, gooey story for nice little girls and boys.

Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head features an amazing cast of characters and a plot that’s as twisty as a spring!

The characters in this book were diverse and extraordinary. I loved every single one, but I would have to say that my favorite is Sam. Sam’s extraordinary talent is super strength, which while useful also sometimes seems to be a burden. I was really drawn to Sam, not only because I felt for him but because of his tender caring heart. Pippa, Max, and Thomas are superb as well! Perfectly developed and extraordinary beings.

This book hooked me from the very beginning and I had the hardest time putting it down. I came very close to burning dinner one night because I couldn’t stop reading. Oliver and Chester are whizzes when it comes to throwing you off your guessing game. I had a hunch throughout the entire book, but I had been completely wrong! The ending shocked me and I loved it! Everything fit perfectly together like a puzzle. I can’t wait to re-read this book to pick up what I had missed the first time around.

I had such a fun time reading this book. I loved the characters and I couldn’t wait to figure out whodunit, but it was so much more than that. The characters go on a journey to discover clues and answer big pressing questions, all growing and developing as characters along the way. They learn to except each other and work together, which they do very well! The plot has twist and turns like a slide and it was a fun ride down. I can’t wait to pick up Curiosity House: The Screaming Statue!

As a side note, I want to thank Lauren Oliver and H.C.Chester for including a color-blind character. With the We Need Diverse campaign we’re starting to see a slew varied characters. In addition to being on the spectrum, I’m also red-green color-blind. I had never seen a color-blind character in a book before and reading about this one made me really good. Accepted even; recognized and appreciated. I have yet to even meet anyone in the same boat as me, so it really lifted my spirits and I didn’t feel quite as alone. So thanks for that!

The Shrunken Head reminded me a bit of THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray and MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs.



Lauren Oliver

I was born in Queens and raised in Westchester, New York, in a small town very similar to the one depicted in Before I Fall. My parents are both literature professors, and from a very early age, my sister and I were encouraged to make up stories, draw, paint, dance around in costumes, and essentially spend much of our time living imaginatively. Our house was old and full of art and towers and towers of books, and that’s still the kind of house I like best.

I started writing as a way of extending my love of reading; when I read a book I loved, I would continue to write sequels for it (I was inadvertently a fan fic writer, before “fan fiction” was even a term!). Later on, I began working on my own stories, and keeping company with a lot of imaginary friends.

I pursued literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago, and then moved back to New York to attend NYU’s MFA program in creative writing. I simultaneously began working at Penguin Books, in a young adult division called Razorbill, and while there, I started work on Before I Fall. I left in 2009 to pursue writing full-time, and now I happily work in my pajamas every day.

I have a variety of interests apart from writing, including reading, cooking, traveling, dancing, running, and making up weird songs. Some of my favorite things are: being cozy; fires; autumn; fuzzy slippers; very high heels; great wine; dark chocolate; ketchup; pasta. Things I hate: practical shoes, liars, and bananas. I divide my time between Brooklyn, upstate New York, and various hotel rooms.

Also by Lauren: CURIOSITY HOUSE: THE SCREAMING STATUE | LIESEL & PO | THE SPINDLERS

Follow Lauren: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | YouTube


H.C.Chester

Like other boys, I spent many happy hours engaged in a favorite hobby: in my case, taking my mother’s discarded kitchen aprons and making them into historically accurate costumes for my pet Rottweiler, Buster. I still recall the perfect hours I spent roaming the woods and meadows around our house with Buster, dressed in his Marie Antoinette coronation gown, trotting happily at my side.

The turning point in my childhood–indeed, in my life–occurred when I was six, when during a routine visit with my parents to an antique shop my eyes fell upon a wondrous sight: a taxidermically mounted specimen of a large Peruvian fruit bat. Stuffed Peruvian fruit bats became the ruling passion of my life. Before long–through postal correspondence with the various dealers who advertise in the pages of the bi-monthly Peruvian Fruit Bat Fanciers Newsletter–I had acquired a dozen more preserved specimens of these endlessly fascinating creatures.

It was the seed of what was to grow into the H. C. Chester Relics Collection, the largest private assemblage of its kind in the entire country, if not indeed the world! Now I live happily with my best friend and companion, my dog “Trudy”, in the ancestral home in which I grew up, surrounded by all of the wondrous and strange items I have collected over the past six decades.

(This is a portion of H.C.Chester’s bio, click here to read the full bio.)


Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my review! Have a great day!

Favorite 2016 Releases!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

*In no particular order. . .

– CUROSITY HOUSE: THE SCREAMING STATUE by Lauren Oliver and H.C.Chester – [Goodreads] This is a middle grade title and it is the second in a series. I rated it four stars, which translates to ‘it was GREAT!’ I do have to say that I enjoyed the first book a little more. The mystery and suspense weren’t as strong in book two.

– SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider – [Goodreads | Full Review] This is Erin’s debut novel and it’s a YA contemporary! The pacing, characters, and overall feel of the book were so spot-on! It’s set in Hawaii, which makes for a great summer read!

– RAVENOUS by MarciKate Connolly – [Goodreads | Full Review] RAVENOUS is a middle grade novel and it’s a companion novel to MONSTROUS. (You don’t have to read MONSTROUS first, but you’ll understand more if you have read it) It is also a twisted Hansel and Gretel retelling. I enjoyed this book – it was compelling and whimsical.

– THE DARKEST CORNERS by Kara Thomas – [Goodreads | Full Review] THE DARKEST CORNERS is a YA thriller, which I rated four stars. It was compelling, suspenseful, and had an insane conclusion!

– STARFLIGHT by Melissa Landers – [Goodreads | Full Review] STARFLIGHT is a YA science fiction novel that earned four stars from me! This novel was action-packed from beginning until the end! It was humorous, face paced, and very clever.

-WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord – [Goodreads | Full Review] WHEN WE COLLIDED is a YA contemporary that earned FIVE stars from me! This book will definitely show up on my end of the year favorite list as well. It was perfection!

Those were my favorites that released already. Now I want to share some of my favorites that have yet to release.

Be on the Lookout For. . .

– REPLICA by Lauren Oliver – [Goodreads | Review Coming: September 1] REPLICA is a YA Science Fiction split into two stories – Lyra and Gemma. As a sneak peek. . .I rated REPLICA four stars!

– THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS by Amy Lukavics – [Goodreads | Review Coming: August 18] WOMEN IN THE WALLS is the second novel from YA horror writer Amy Lukavics. This book was high on my anticipated books of 2016 list and I was lucky enough to snag an advance readers copy! It is amazing! Horror – enthusiasts, add this to your lists! As a sneak peek. . .I rated TWitW five stars!

– STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco – [Goodreads | Review Coming: August 4] STALKING JACK THE RIPPER is Kerri’s first novel! It is a YA thriller and it is absolute perfection! Suspense! Blood! Beautiful writing! ETC!! Amazing, amazing, amazing!! If you can’t tell. . .I rated FIVE STARS!!


Thanks so much for stopping by and for reading! What are some of your favorites released in 2016? What are some of the titles you’re looking forward to releasing in 2016? Did you participate in TTT? Leave me your link below!

Horror Review: PHOBIC by Cortney Pearson

Young Adult Review:
Horror


PHOBIC by Cortney Pearson
Published: August 28 2014
Pages: 376
Rating: ⭐️  – Did Not Like
Goodreads Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. As if never needing repairs since 1875, or lights flickering in response to things she says, aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.

To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door and soon after begins to witness a string of flashbacks—including a love affair between two young servants. Not only did these servants used to live in a set of rooms just down the hall from her bedroom, but they happen to be hiding a deadly secret.

Little does Piper know, this secret is pulling her deeper into not only their story, but also her house. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime before becoming a part of her house for good.

Book Yabber Review:

PHOBIC and I had a love hate relationship. My entire read could be described as a rollercoaster. There were ups and there were downs. There were moments of utter captivation and moments where I was completely disconnected and could care less.

The love part – Parts of the story were creepy, borderline scary. I love that in a horror book. I got chills and legit had to stop reading because it was getting dark and I wanted to sleep that night. These parts would come and go throughout the whole novel. I only sometimes cared about the characters, which was a weird feeling for me. I’d go from feeling completely unattached and bored to all of a sudden caring what happened to the characters.

The hate part – I did not like the writing. Some of the words used meant something different to me and some of the metaphors were really out there. It all just made me feel really distant. Creepy occurances happen almost constantly through the entire novel, and only a few times was I really struck by what was happening. I also didn’t care for the characters most of the book. They seemed whiney and annoying to me. I feel like emotions were not portrayed well making the novel feel dry and stiff.

I also had problems with the plot. The big major reveal was overcome fast and easy, but an unexpected twist follows lasting the rest of the book. I didn’t like that style. To me it felt long and drawn out. I wish more time had been spent on the resolution of the big conflict.

In conclusion, this book and I were not made for each other. There were several times I almost put the book down and other times where I was completely into it and couldn’t wait to see what would happen. It was quite a strange read.


About the Author:


I’m a mother, a Mormon and a musician, and I squee over all things pink and sparkly. I write books about doors that shouldn’t be opened and enchanted tears that shouldn’t be shed. I’m the proud wife of a farmer, and we live in a dinky Idaho farm town where the chances of getting stuck in tractor-induced traffic jams are highly likely. I believe anything can be made better with a good attitude and maybe a book packed away for those just-in-case times.

Also by Cortney: STOLEN TEARS Series

Follow Cortney: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my review!

X O
Elizabeth

Anticipated Releases!

Top Ten Tuesday
Anticipated Releases for Second Half of 2016!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

Here are 10 books that I’m excited for:

10. THE GATHERING by Dan Poblocki: [GR | Releases: August 30 2016] Shadow House is not only a haunted house, but a hungry house. Things are not quite right in this house – doors vanish, ghosts appear, and children vanish. A group of children will discover this and I’m eager to follow their findings. With this book, there’s an app that allows for a deeper, creepier experience!

9. THE PECULIAR NIGHT OF THE BLUE HEART by Lauren DeStefano: [GR | Releases: September 13 2016] Another middle grade novel by Lauren DeStefano! This is a story about two kids at an orphanage. One of them is possessed and completely taken over by a blue spirit, together the must stop it before she’s lost forever!

8. EMPIRE OF STORMS by Sarah J. Maas: [GR | Releases: September 6 2016] Throne of Glass # 5! It’s coming and I can’t wait to see the adventures (and heart break) that ensue!

7. YOUNG SCROOGE by R.L.Stine: [GR | Releases: September 13 2016] Christmas. Horror. R.L.Stine. A CHRISTMAS CAROL RETELLING BY R.L.STINE?!?!?! YES!!!! I’m all over this! I cannot wait for it’s release!

6. AHSOKA by E.K.Johnston: [GR | Releases: October 11 2016] EEEEEEEEEEEE!! As you may know, I’m a HUGE Star Wars fangirl. Ahsoka is a character from the Star Wars Extended Universe and now she is getting her own novel! So many things I hope are explained in this book! I can’t wait!!

5. REPLICA by Lauren Oliver: [GR | Releases: October 4 2016] I’ve had the immense pleasure of reading this title already and I have to say that it is amazing. Two stories about two girls woven together to create a story that is larger than life. (*Sings Backstreet Boys Larger Than Life #nostalgia) Pre-order it! Pre-order it NOW!

4. STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco: [GR | Releases: September 20 2016] I am actually a Street Team member for this book! When I first heard about it, I knew from the beginning it was going to be special. I’ve been following Kerri and she is the sweetest. I cannot wait for this release and I’m so excited for Kerri!

3. THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake: [GR | Releases: September 20 2016] I’ve been a fan of Kendare’s since 2011 when she published ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. Since then I have fallen in love with her writing. She writes gory terrifying scenes and she uses the appropriate anatomical terms (which is something I also do in real life), so it hits home with me. I am so excited for her next book!

2. THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS by Amy Lukavics: [GR | Releases: September 27th 2016] I loved DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS, which was Amy’s debut. She writes horror that’s much like a torpedo – it silently cruises until it hits some time later and creeps you the heck out! I’m quite looking forward to the next one from her (and the next, and so on and so forth!)

1. HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by J.K.Rowling: [GR| Releases: July 31 2016] AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am so, so, so excited for the release of THE CURSED CHILD. It’s the 8th Harry Potter story, who wouldn’t be excited?!

Contemporary Review: THE START OF ME AND YOU by Emery Lord

Young Adult Review:
Contemporary


THE START OF YOU AND ME by Emery Lord
Published: March 31 2015 by Bloomsbury
Pages: 384
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – LOVED it!
Goodreads Synopsis: It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Book Yabber Review:

THE START OF YOU AND ME was a very empowering read. The main character, Paige Elizabeth Hancock has experienced quite a traumatic event and she takes steps to better herself and not let this trauma define her. Paige was a highly relatable character. We’re not perfect people, but we can all set goals to better ourselves and overcome our fears- this is Paige’s journey.

Emery Lord kept me completely and utterly enthralled from start to finish. Her writing is beautiful and it effortlessly flows while conveying deep and intense emotion. I cried while reading – Twice – in two different locations. I love these characters so much and I became emotionally invested, enough to cry. I just love Emery Lord’s books.

An aspect of this book that I absolutely adored was Paige and her group of friends. Their friendship was genuine and impenetrable. They understood each other and were there for each other no matter what. It made me want to be the best friend I can possibly be. There’s just something about Emery Lord and making me want to be my best self. Her books are inspirational.

The romance was swoon-worthy, the characters were so well developed they could actually exist, the message is uplifting, and the writing is sensational. If you are a fan of contemporary and you haven’t already read this, I highly suggest you do so. If you have read it, isn’t it time for a re-read? I just finished and I already can’t wait for my re-read.


About the Author:


Emery Lord is a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes fluttery and so painfully awkward you could implode.

She lives in Cincinnati in a 100 year-old pink row house with a scientist, a one-eyed beagle, and a dog named Winston Churchill.

Also by Emery: OPEN ROAD SUMMER | WHEN WE COLLIDED

Follow Emery: Website | Twitter | Instagram


Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my review! Have a great day!

X O ,
Elizabeth

Event Recap: The Blue Bunny Middle Grade Discussion & Signing!

Event Recap:
The Blue Bunny Middle Grade Discussion & Signing

The Blue Bunny Books & Toys hosted a middle grade discussion and book signing, Saturday June 4 2016. The talented authors in attendance:


Photo Credit: The Blue Bunny Books and Toys (Source)

Marci (real life best friend, extraordinaire blogger behind The Plot Bunny) and I arrived to The Blue Bunny quarter to 3 PM. It was a beautiful sunny day. The temperature broke through into the eighties and a cooling breeze made an appearance occasionally. A perfect Saturday afternoon. Outside the bookstore, we were greeted by a royal blue awning and a large, blue bunny. We of course seized the moment and posed with him. In true book-dragon fashion, at first glance, my immediate thought was not ‘blue bunny = The Blue Bunny’, but instead ‘is that Luna Lovegood’s patronus’?

The discussion was scheduled for 3 PM, but didn’t start on time because Jen and MarcyKate were stuck in traffic. I had to giggle – “Welcome to Boston, where traffic is life.”

After each author went down the line and talked a bit about their books, they each took numbers from the audience and read that page. Members suggested, “Page 75 from MONSTROUS.” or “Page 101 from SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS”., and so on. A funny tidbit, the page 33 was requested of THE FLETCHER FAMILY TAKES ROCK ISLAND – it was 3:33 PM at time of suggestion and when Dana opened the book, she opened directly to page 33.

The discussion then turned to writing. The panelist talked about writing their books. Jen talked about how she had complete freedom to go as crazy as she could. The example she used for this was one of her characters has the odd interest of the very-real sport, unicycle floor hockey. The suggestion was given to Jen by a middle grade student, who ended up introducing Jen to unicycle floor hockey – as she didn’t know it existed! Claire went on to talk about how her main character struggles with depression and anxiety. Claire has the same struggles, so SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS was a very personal work for her. If I can interject my own opinion here, that’s very brave of Claire to put so much of herself into a book. I’ve read 100 pages of SKoH and I can tell you that it does indeed feel real and gritty. I commend Claire on her self-less bravery – the heart of SKoH is evident.

When asked how they wrote their book, Jen explained how she accidentally wrote a book. She set out on a mission to write a short story for her daughter and her to read before bed. She kept writing and writing and it before a whole book! That book is titled THE PENNY PROJECT. Claire was a musician (trumpet, to be exact) with a book concept that was continually nagging at her to get words on the page. She gave in to those demands, which resulted in a very, very long book. Three hundred thousand words. For reference, the longest HARRY POTTER book (HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX) is 257,045 words. Claire then began her journey of narrowing the crippling word count down. She met an agent at a conference that saw the potential there, just not with that first story. Claire then wrote THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR GIRLS AND BOYS, which became her first published novel. That first manuscript is currently under submission! Good luck, Claire!

The question, “How do you come up with book ideas/inspiration?” was asked. MarcyKate explained how the Boston public transit service (A.K.A. the T) will often times stop in between train stops – sometimes for repairs, other times train traffic, sometimes for no reason, I have experience as I also live in Boston. On one of her T rides, this did happen and she started to ponder about fairies living in the dark train tunnels and a cyborg road trip. Many of the authors agreed that their great ideas come to them in the shower. This is also true with me. Jen shared her secret – she uses AquaNotes. It’s a water-proof pad for jotting down ideas in the shower! Perfect! An AquaNotes pad is currently sitting in my Amazon cart – thanks for the suggestion, Jen!

Along with AquaNotes, Jen also shared some of her writing tips. She creates Pinterest boards for her characters. This next one is something that I absolutely intend to do myself, she Christmas shops for her characters! What would they like to receive. I think it’s absolutely brilliant! When she gets stuck writing, she allows herself to take breaks. During those breaks she reads and watches TV to study the character and story arcs of others. Brilliant tips!

After the discussion, Claire had a copy of FOXHEART to give away. FOXHEART is Claire’s next middle grade fantasy novel and it’s set to release October 4th 2016. She told everyone that one of the chairs had a sticky note underneath. Lo and behold, my seat was the winning seat! Thanks so much again to Claire for the FOXHEART ARC! I can’t wait to read it!

I got my new ARC copy of FOXHEART and SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS hardcover signed by Claire. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Claire for the first time. She’s such a sweet being and I can’t wait until we meet again.

Before we left, Marci and I found cupcakes! We’re sugar fiends, so you know we absolutely indulged! The cupcakes had flags of the featured book covers protruding from the frosting! Marci took a SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS cupcake and I took a RAVENOUS cupcake. They were delicious and a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Thanks so much to Blue Bunny Books and Toys for hosting an incredible event. Thanks to the authors for attending and allowing us to listen in on a great discussion! I’m looking forward to my next Blue Bunny event!


X O
Elizabeth

fandomfriday

Fandom Friday! June 2016

Welcome to a Fandom Friday! A Book Yabber original feature! What is Fandom Friday? Think along the lines of a news page, gathering all the latest news stories from favorite fandoms over the past month and splicing them together in one convenient location. It’s open to all bloggers, so take a look at the linky below, follow links to other blogs, and read about all the fandoms!

My top two fandoms are Star Wars and Harry Potter, so expect to see that kind of news from me. What are your top fandoms? Gather news stories from the month, put them all into a blog post, and leave the link below to participate! I only ask that you link back to Book Yabber in your post. Let’s get started!


Star Wars:
Episode 8 Name Leak!

There was a video that leaked that displayed what could very possibly be a movie poster with the rumored Episode 8 movie title! Because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, I’ll leave the link *HERE*. If you want to know, click it, if not, DON’T! I can tell you though, it’s freaking awesome and I am SO PUMPED!


Star Wars:
The Star Wars Show

If you love Star Wars, there’s now a Star Wars Show on YouTube! The show has Star Wars news, interviews, and they spotlight photos from the SW community. Episodes every Wednesday! It’s hosted by Andi Gutierrez and Peter Townley. I watch every Wednesday and it fills my day with joy!

Here’s a link to The Star Wars Show Playlist.


Harry Potter:
Cursed Child Cast Photos!!!


Top: The Weasley Family. Bottom: The Potter Family. Source: Pottermore.com

AHHH! I’m so in love with these cast photos!! I just. . .I can’t get over the casting for Ginny. Blew my mind. I LOVE THEM ALL! I cannot wait for THE CURSED CHILD!!! *Fangirl Flails!!!*


Harry Potter:
Rupert Grint and Bonnie Wright Get Sorted!

I enjoyed watching the interviews of Bonnie and Rupert as they reminisce and share their favorite scenes to film. I highly recommend you watch the interviews and stay tuned as they get sorted at the end!


That’s all for this month! Thanks so much for reading! What is happening in your fandoms right now? Did you write a Fandom Friday post? Link up below, I can’t wait to read your post!

Remember, Fandom Friday is the first Friday of every month. Hope to see you in July!

X O
Elizabeth

Middle Grade Review: ASTROTWINS: PROJECT BLASTOFF by Mark Kelly

Middle Grade Review:
Science Fiction

ASTROTWINS: PROJECT BLASTOFF by Mark Kelly
Published: March 17 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 224
Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – LOVED it!
Goodreads Synopsis: It’s a long, hot summer and Scott and Mark are in big trouble for taking apart (aka destroying) their dad’s calculator. As a punishment, they’re sent to their grandfather’s house, where there’s no TV and they have to do chores. And Grandpa is less tolerant of the twins’ constant bickering. “Why don’t you two work together on something constructive. What if you built a go-kart or something?” Grandpa suggests.

But it’s not a go-kart the twins are interested in. They want to build a rocket. With the help of Jenny, nicknamed Egg, and a crew of can-do kids, they set out to build a real rocket that will blast off and orbit the Earth. The question soon becomes: which twin will get to be the astronaut?

Book Yabber Review:

I devoured this book in one sitting. For me, that doesn’t happen because I’m such a slow reader, but in this case, I couldn’t stop. Literally I could not put this book down. The story was charming, captivating, and just so fun!

ASTROTWINS: PROJECT BLASTOFF was like THE MARTIAN (by Andy Weir) for young readers. It was bursting with technical math and science. Unlike THE MARTIAN, ASTROTWINS broke down the math and science elements in a very easy to understand method. Using amazing examples that were easy to imagine and comprehend.

This novel was fun for me because I’m also an astronomy nerd, so I know of and follow the two astronauts the two main characters (and the author) is based upon. Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly are the main characters in ASTROTWINS – in real life, they’re twin astronaut brothers. Scott actually just finished up his Year in Space Mission and is finally back on Earth.

That being said, the novel does not take place in modern times. The novel is set in the 70’s, when Mark and Scott were younger. I really appreciated that about the story. Definitely bringing back some aspects of my childhood, like writing letters opposed to texting, prices being cheaper than we know them today, etc. Being setting in the 1970’s and reading it in the year 2016 definitely lead to some hilarious moments. I hope some of the values touched upon will resonate with the age of technology children of today.

Upon finishing this book, all I could really say is WOW! I am completely blown away by this novel and I can’t wait to read the second installment of Astrotwins.


About the Author:


Mark Kelly is an American astronaut, retired United States Navy Captain, #1 New York Times best-selling author, and an experienced naval aviator and test pilot who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. The winner of many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Kelly was selected by NASA as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. With 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft, 375 aircraft carrier landings, 39 combat missions and more than 50 days in space, Mark Kelly is one of our country’s most experienced pilots.

Also by Mark: ASTROTWINS: PROJECT RESCUE | MOUSETRONAUT | MOUSETRONAUT GOES TO MARS

Follow Mark: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Thanks so much for stopping by and reading!

X O,
Elizabeth