Monthly Archives: January 2014

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: SPIRIT’S KEY by Edith Cohn

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I’ve long admired the posts that revealed stunning covers of books coming out. I’m so excited to finally be able to host one! Congratulations to debut author Edith Cohn on the upcoming release of her MG novel, Spirit’s Key!

About the book: 

By now, twelve-year-old Spirit Holden should have inherited the family gift: the ability to see the future. But when she holds a house key in her hand like her dad does, she can’t see anything. Maybe it’s because all she wants to see is her dog Sky, who mysteriously died and washed ashore on a sand dune. Sky was Spirit’s loyal companion, a wild dog, feared by the islanders in her community. Bald Island superstition says the wild dogs are cursed and dangerous. Spirit knows this isn’t true, but then she hasn’t heard the legends. Holding Sky’s dog tag conjures his ghost and more mysteries to unravel. She must unlock the Holden family gift. Only Spirit can save the island’s remaining wild dogs from extinction. To do so, she must learn the true meaning of a dog tag and teach the islanders to coexist with the animals who also call Bald Island home.

A note from the author about the cover: 

The cover was designed by the marvelous Eliza Wheeler who also did the cover for Holly Black’s DOLL BONES. I adore what she’s done for SPIRIT’S KEY. Spirit looks so knowing with her key necklace. I’d hoped Eliza would find a way to make the dog Sky look ghostly, and if you look closely, he’s see-through! And I just love how Spirit and her friend Nector are tip-toeing through the whales’ bones on the back flap. She pulled off what I think is a complex mix of things to convey: mystery, ghosts, slight fantasy, upper middle grade, spooky adventure. I couldn’t be happier with it.

And here is the really awesome cover of SPIRIT’S KEY:

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Spirit’s Key by Edith Cohn (FSG/Macmillan) September 2014

Isn’t that cover amazing? And isn’t the synopsis intriguing? If only we didn’t have to wait until September to read it! Oh, but wait! One lucky winner won’t have to wait! Not only will a winner drawn here at random receive the ARC of Spirit’s Key, he or she will get a very cool key necklace handmade by the author herself. Your own “Spirit’s Key”!

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To be entered for the drawing to win these fabulous prizes, please follow these rules:

1. Comment on this post with your name by Friday, January 31st midnight EST. Make sure to either include your email address or check back here on Tuesday so I can notify you if you win. If the winner doesn’t respond with his/her U.S. mailing address in 48 hours, I will draw another name.

2. Winner must have a U.S. mailing address.

Spread the word!

About the author:

Edith Cohn was born and raised in North Carolina where she grew up visiting the unique beaches of the Outer Banks. She currently lives in the coyote-wild hills of Los Angeles with her husband and fur-daughter Leia. All of these things provided inspiration for her middle grade novel, SPIRIT’S KEY, a mystery about a girl and her ghost dog coming in September from FSG/Macmillan. Edith also holds a Masters in English Education and was formerly a 7th grade teacher.

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For more about Edith and her upcoming release check out her website, follow her on Twitter, check out Goodreads, or friend her on FB. For pre-order information, contact your local indie bookstore, or check out these links: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Congratulations to all the winners!

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I rarely if ever pay attention to award ceremonies – IF I catch one on TV it’s usually for the Grammys. (Watched part of it last night.) But the one award ceremony I always pay attention to? The ALA Youth Media Awards of course!

It’s so exciting to hear the names of books and authors I’ve read/admired! Giddiness takes over! And then the need for shopping, because I want to read the books that won that I haven’t yet read! For a complete list of the winners: click here (but right now it’s quite overburdened and hard to get to)! Here’s the FB link.

I’m so thrilled and happy for the winners! HOORAY for authors and books!

A Favorite Author: Cinda Williams Chima

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I have many favorite authors, as I’ve said before. And from time to time I will highlight them here. As you know from my last post, I accidentally ruined a book by putting it in the washing machine. Fortunately, because of my wonderful indie book store (Bank Square Books) and the store owner who saw my post, I was able to get a new copy in a day. The book I washed?

9781423144342_p0_v2_s260x420The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (Hyperion/2013)

In a continuation of the Heir Chronicles, this story focuses on Jonah and Emma. Both are survivors of the Thorn Hill massacre/accident (depending on who tells the story) – killing all the adults and turning the surviving children into “savants” or mutants. Not quite wizards or enchanters or warriors or sorcerers – but somehow each having a special ability but also cursed with short lives. Jonah is able to enchant, but also his bare touch will kill. Emma who knew nothing of this world comes to it after her grandfather is murdered and she’s united with her long-absent father.  When Jonah and Emma’s paths intersect, secrets and lies play a part in their growing attraction. The political battle between the wizards and other guilds cause Jonah and Emma to form a partnership to try to find out the true story behind Thorn Hill.

If you are at all growing a bit fatigued by all the similar stories out there, I know that feeling. Sometimes I read books and they just seem to be a play off of other popular books. This is where Cinda Williams Chima stands out, head and shoulders above the crowd. Her books are original. All her books are fantastic – in-depth stories with amazing world-building and magical elements tinged with intrigue and violence and love and lust. Her characters are strong and passionate, and the stories are woven intricately. You don’t need to have read the first three books in the Heir Chronicles to understand The Enchanter Heir, but you will probably want to go back to read them.

My favorite series of hers is the Seven Realms series. The first in the series is The Demon King:

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From the publisher:

One day Han Alister catches three young wizard setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battle to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of riding and hunting with her father’s family. Raia aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems that her mother has other plans for her-plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning page-turner from best-selling author Cinda Williams Chima.

This series contains an epic love story, an amazing battle between good and evil, friendship and family love. This is a series I would read more than once and intend to in the near future. I highly recommend any books by Cinda Williams Chima!

For more about the author and her books: her website.

Looking For A Clean Book?

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photo copy 3This is what happens when you accidentally throw a hardcover novel into the washing machine with your towels. (and it makes a HUGE mess in the washing machine!) Sigh. I’m in the middle of reading The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. I’m dying to know what happens next so I hope my indie bookstore has a copy on the shelves because I do NOT want to wait to keep reading it!

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2013 Reading List

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! In all, I read 75 books, not including manuscripts/WIPs by friends and books I put down after a few chapters.  Of these books, 44 were children’s books (picture books, chapter books, MG, YA, and NA), 28 adult fiction, and 3 miscellaneous (nonfiction/writing/spiritual). I re-read four books (by Ellen Emerson White), and fell in love with new authors (Rainbow Rowell, Jojo Moyes, and Joshilyn Jackson, to name a few).

Here is my list in full (with a scattering of notes – just know that if the book is on this list, I enjoyed reading it and recommend it). If you’ve read any of the same books, I’d love to have a conversation with you about them (my email address is shared in my contact info), or if you have books to recommend based on books I read/loved here, please let me know!

2013 Reading List

 1. THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay

Atria Paperback (S&S)/2012    YA/NA fiction 

2. JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman

Dutton Books/2013   NA fiction

3. ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes

Viking/2012   Adult fiction

Kindle, January 16, 2013

4. THE CRIMSON CROWN by Cinda Williams Chima

Hyperion/2012   YA fantasy

5. DOUBLE CROSSED: A Spies and Thieves Story by Ally Carter

Hyperion/2013   YA novella

6. ART by Patrick McDonnell

Little, Brown/2006  Picture book

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7. THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER by Jojo Moyes

Penguin Books/2010  adult fiction

8. PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally Carter

Disney Hyperion/2013      YA fiction

9. FRANCES AND BERNARD by Carlene Bauer

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/2012    adult fiction

10.  TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini

Simon Pulse/2012    YA fiction (paranormal)

11. THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS by Erica Bauermeister

G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2009   adult fiction

12.  JULIE AND ROMEO by Jeanne Ray

Random House/2000    adult fiction

13. THE LOST ART OF MIXING by Erica Bauermeister

G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2013

14.  EAT CAKE by Jeanne Ray

Random House/2003   adult fiction 

15. GHETTO COWBOY by G. Neri  (illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson)

Candlewick/2011        MG fiction

16. SHINE by Lauren Myracle

Abrams Books/2011   YA fiction 

17. CALLING INVISIBLE WOMEN by Jeanne Ray

Crown Publishers/2012   Adult fiction

18. THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt

Simon & Schuster/2008  MG fiction

19. THE ELEPHANT OF SURPRISE by Brent Hartinger

Buddha Kitty Books/2013   YA fiction

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20. ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

St. Martin’s Griffin/2013  YA fiction

21. THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr (ARC)

Little, Brown & Co/May 2013

22. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Scribner/1925              Fiction classic

23. GIRL PARTS by John M. Cusick

Candlewick Press/2010     YA fiction

24. UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody

Farrar, Straus, Giroux/2013  YA fiction

25. WEDDING NIGHT by Sophie Kinsella

The Dial Press/2013  Adult fiction 

26. GORGEOUS by Paul Rudnick

Scholastic/2013  YA fiction

27.  BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys

Speak (Penguin Group)/2011  YA historical fiction

28. FOX FOREVER by Mary E. Pearson

Henry Holt/2013  YA sci-fi

29. THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT by Julie Berry

Bloomsbury/2009           teen fantasy

30. THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH (Shades of London Book 2) by Maureen Johnson

Putnam/2013    YA paranomal

31. DIE FOR HER (A Novella) by Amy Plum

Harper Teen/2013   YA paranormal

32. ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell

Dutton/2011     adult fiction

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33. I’LL BE SEEING YOU by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan

Harlequin Mira/2013     adult historical fiction

34. AMITY & SORROW by Peggy Riley

Little Brown/2013     adult fiction 

35. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

Corgi Books/2011  (UK)    new adult fiction

36. IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT by Dianne Ochiltree (illus. by Betsy Snyder)

Blue Apple/2013   picture book

37. THE MOON AND MORE by Sarah Dessen

Viking/2013     YA fiction

38. ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card

1994   MG sci fi

39. FROGGED by Vivian Vande Velde

Harcourt/April 2013     MG fantasy/fairy tale

40. MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING by Erin Dionne (ARC)

Dial Books/July 2013    MG fiction

41. SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS by Marisha Pessl

Penguin Books/2006    adult fiction 

42.  SEEING RED by Kathryn Erskine (ARC)

Scholastic/September 2013   MG Historical Fiction

43. COOPER & PACKRAT: MYSTERY ON PINE LAKE by Tamra Wight (Illus by Carl DiRocco)

Islandport Press/2013      MG fiction

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44. OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigsberg

Scholastic/2013  YA fiction

45. AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury / 2007   Adult fiction

46. SEATING ARRANGMENTS by Maggie Shipstead

Vintage Books (Random House)/2012   adult fiction

47. THE NEWLYWEDS by Nell Freudenberger

Vintage Book (Random House)/2012    adult fiction

48. SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS by Deepak Chopra

Harmony Books/2012   spiritual

49. WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES by Karen Joy Fowler

G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2013                   adult fiction

50. BELLE EPOQUE by Elizabeth Ross

Delacorte/2013    YA fiction

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51. THE PLOT WHISPERER by Martha Alderson

Adams Media/2011    writing/craft book

 

52.  THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US by Lauren Myracle

Amulet Books/2013   YA fiction

53. THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND by Jojo Moyes

Viking/2013   adult fiction

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54. LIVING WITH JACKIE CHAN by Jo Knowles

Candlewick/2013   YA fiction

 

55. FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

St. Martin’s Griffin/2013   NA fiction9781250030955_p0_v4_s114x166

 

56. THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER by Ellen Emerson White

Feiwel & Friends/2008  YA fiction

re-read (third time)

57. WHITE HOUSE AUTUMN by Ellen Emerson White

Feiwel & Friends/2008  YA fiction

re-read

58. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN by Ellen Emerson White

Feiwel & Friends/2008   YA fiction

re-read 

59. LONG MAY SHE REIGN by Ellen Emerson White

Feiwel and Friends/2007                     YA fiction

re-read

60. THE PARTNER TRACK by Helen Wan

St. Martin’s Press/2013    Adult fiction

Side note: It’s so refreshing to read a novel about an Asian-American protagonist in a contemporary American setting. Race did play a factor in this story, but not in a “multicultural story” way. So much of what Ingrid experienced as an Asian-American in America rang true to me. I hope this is the start of a trend where we see main characters of color in contemporary stories.

61. JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman

Dutton Books/2013    NA fiction

62. THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

adult fiction

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63. ALL THE TRUTH THAT’S IN ME by Julie Berry

Viking/2013   YA fiction

64. ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando  ARC

Little, Brown & Company/2014       NA fiction9780316217491_p0_v3_s114x166-1

Side Note: Tag line: One summer. Two strangers. Sixty-five days until they meet. This books comes out this year so keep an eye out for it. It’s worth the read!

65.  SEND by Patty Blount

Sourcebooks/2012  YA Fiction

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66. CHIME by Franny Billingsley

Dial Books/2011   YA fiction (folktale)

67. ROOTLESS by Chris Howard

Scholastic/2012    YA fiction 

68.  WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart    ARC

Random House/May 13, 2013   YA fiction

Side note: Look for my interview with Emily Lockhart in a few months. This is going to be a much talked about book, one you will want to read before everyone else talks about it!

69. SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson

HarperCollins/2013    Adult fiction

70. MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury/2012                   adult fiction

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71. GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson

Grand Central Pubishing (Hatchett Book Group)/2005  Adult fiction

72. BACKSEAT SAINTS by Joshilyn Jackson

Grand Central Publishing/2010   Adult fiction

73. THE ISLAND by Elin Hilderbrand

Backbay Books (Hatchett Books)/2010  Adult fiction

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74. FOOD MATTERS by Mark Bittman

Simon & Schuster/2009   nonfiction food

Side note: This book motivated my husband and me to make some big lifestyle changes. I’m reading his book VEGAN BEFORE 6:00 next.

75. THE PATRON SAINT OF LIARS by Ann Patchett

Harper Perennial/1992    adult fiction

There you have it! I really enjoyed the books I read this year and wish I’d had time to read even more. There are so many wonderful books out there! I hope to read 100 books in 2014! Thanks for sticking around, I know I haven’t been blogging regularly, but I’ve been spending my time writing (and reading). I promise more great interviews and give-aways this year!

Please provide links to YOUR reading list in the comments. I’d love to check it out! Happy reading!