Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

Hello Readers!

With the 4th of July right around the corner, I decided to participate in the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy over at I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and Mundie Moms.

This time around one lucky winner will win:

A paperback copy of Jane Slayer by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin plus an assortment of bookmarks. (Please note that this copy of Jane Slayer is a used copy, but is still in very good condition – with little to no shelf wear.

This giveaway will be open from June 29th (12:01 a.m.) and will run until July 5th (11:59 p.m.). Giveaway is open to U.S. residents, 13 years old or older.

To enter, simply leave a comment on THIS post, telling me your favorite classic novel is. Please make sure to leave a valid e-mail address in your comment as winner will be contacted via e-mail. Winner will be selected by a random number generator and will be contacted July 6th. Winner will have two days to respond to e-mail. However if no response is received, a new winner will be selected.

This is a BIG hop, with over 200 blogs participating. Make sure you check out who’s participating here!

Good Luck and Happy Hopping!

Crossed

Crossed by Ally Condie

Cassia has risked everything for Ky, the boy she loves. She’s risked losing her family. She’s risked losing Xander, her best friend and societal match. She’s risked a secure future and a safe life. But that’s not all she’s risking.

When a Society plane lands in her work camp looking for bunk-mate Indy, Cassia knows she has to get on, whether the Society likes it or not. She has to get to the Outer Provinces, the place The Society sends aberrations to practically fend for themselves and eventually die.

Before she knows it, Cassia finders herself in the heart of the Outer Provinces. But Ky isn’t there. He’s run. Run from the Outer Provinces with friends Vick and Eli into the Carving – a mysterious structure that holds several small farming villages and supposedly The Rising.

Following in Ky’s footsteps Cassia and bunk-mate Indy run, as fast and hard as they can. But making her way through the carving and to Ky isn’t going to be easy. Cassia and Indy face bad weather, little to no food, more than one path to choose from, and facing the possibility that she may never find Ky.

Even though Ky has lived in the Outer Provinces before, will he survive life within the Carving?

Crossed, book two in the Matched trilogy, written by author Ally Condie is an exciting follow-up that is sure to please fans of Matched.

What sets Crossed apart from Matched is that reader’s have the chance to get to know Ky. Told from both Cassia and Ky’s point of view, readers will learn more about who Ky was before moving into The Society, about the ties he has to the Rising, and generally what makes him tick.

Even though readers get to know Ky readers won’t get the chance to know Cassia beyond what we know from Matched. Cassia’s chapters aren’t as insightful as readers may hope, but they do prove just how strong a character she really is.

The only real fault I had with Crossed was the lack of already known and loved characters. Xander, a main character in Matched and an important part of Cassia’s life was missing for the most part. Sure, he makes a (very) brief appearance at the beginning of the book, but that’s it. Even though he still a big part of the storyline. However, Condie makes up with it with the introduction of new characters like the lovable Eli, and the assertive Indy.

Condie’s writing is as impressive as her first novel. Beyond impressive it’s believable. Readers will feel as if they’re right beside Cassia as she scales carving walls, as pages through pages and pages of poetry.

Even though Crossed has some predictable moments, this is still an enjoyable read. Crossed is a great follow-up that will leave readers guessing at what the final installment – Reached – has in store for fans.

Book of the Week: Just Ducks

Just Ducks by Nicola Davies Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

Published: 2012 by Candlewick

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

In some small way this book reminded me of my own my all time favorite books (as a child and as an adult) – Robert McCloskey’s Make Way For Ducklings.

I’m not a fans of birds in general, but I am a fan of ducks.

Like the little girl in the story I know what it’s like to hear ducks quacking early in the morning.

I love how there are actual facts about ducks are spread throughout the book.

I love how the facts blend seamlessly into the overall story. These facts do not take away from the great story, but rather enhances it.

Both young and old readers will learn a thing or two from this read. For example, I always through when ducks preen it’s just to make themselves look more attractive. But through this book I learned that “When they preen ducks spread oil from a little spot just under their tails all over their feathers to keep them shiny and waterproof.” Who knew?!

This book reminded me that I love to feed the ducks.

The author, Nicola Davies, really did capture, the importance of enjoying the simple pleasures that life has to offer – like feeding the ducks.

The illustrator, Salvatore Rubbino, really captured the differences between male and female ducks.

This book lets reader’s glimpse into the lives of these birds.

This picture book has a different feel from the traditional picture books out there. Whereas most picture books feature some sort of problem that needs to be resolved, this one doesn’t. Instead it’s a simple story that flows smoothly.

Ducks are a rowdy bunch of birds!

I loved the writing of this book. There’s a soft lyrical quality to it. Besides that, it’s super smart.

The illustrations are lush watercolors.

Illustrator Rubbino has an eye for detail, from the snail slithering along the bottom of the page, camouflaged by the grass to the small spider spinning an intricate web within the leaves of a plant.

I particularly love ducklings, and the illustrations of ducklings warmed my duck-loving heart.

Readers will feel smarter after reading this book. I know I did.

The ducks are the stars of this book.

I love how this young girl of the story can tell what season it is, where she is within her own life based upon the ducks. For example, she knows it’s spring when the female ducks start to lay and sit upon her eggs.

The Near Witch

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Everyone who has grown up in the small village of Near knows the story of it’s most famed citizen – the Near Witch. They know how she would sing to the hills. They know she was both loved and feared. They know that she was taken from her home, accused of killing a small boy, and was mercilessly killed by the hands of the village elder’s.

Lexi Harris is no different. She too has grown up with knowing and reciting the story of the witch. But unlike her Near neighbors Lexi doesn’t fear her. Her now deceased father taught her that all living beings – human or otherwise – could be either good or evil. He has taught Lexi his trade of tracking and the importance of following her gut instinct.

So when a mysterious boy appears in Near just as several village children have gone missing, all fingers point to this stranger. All but Lexi’s Harris’ finger. She doesn’t believe the handsome stranger is to blame, especially after he’s helped her almost every night investigate the kidnappings.
Since Lexi is the only person in all of Near who believes in the strangers innocence, she’s the only one who can prove it. Will her beliefs set him free, or will it unleash a far more sisister suspect?

Written by author Victoria Schwab, The Near Witch is a spine-tingling mystery that will leave readers gripping the edge of their seats.

The Near Witch feels like a folktale, one we’ve all known but too afraid to speak of. There’s something so familiar about it, and that makes it all the more inviting. It’s a lush book full of vivid descriptions, lyrical writing, and above all other things a setting that’s both realistic and atmospheric. Readers will get caught up in the action. So much so they’ll start to think that they are actually part of the story – part of Near.

Schwab’s writing isn’t only impressive, it’s solid. Full of unforseen twists and turns, readers will be life gaping and guessing. She’s crafted a story unlike any other on the bookshelves. The Near Witch is infused with mystery, suspense, with a straight up horror twist. Her characters are believable, easy to identify and sympathize with. Lexi especially. She’s a spitfire – passionate, unyielding, and strong-willed. Lexi makes for a great heroine.

The Near Witch is the kind of book that will stick with readers for a while, long after the book has come to an end. Schwab’s first novel is sure to leave to leave an imprint and will leave readers wanting, craving more. Schwab is an author to watch!

Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop

Hello Readers!

It’s that time again. Again for the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop. I participated last year (I believe) and I figured I’d participate this year … for traditions sake, you know?!

This hop wouldn’t be possible without Kathy over at I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and Unique Moi Books. So, thank you for hosting a great hop!

This time around I will be giving away two books to two lucky winners.

Prize #1 is an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of Wisdom’s Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock PLUS an assortment of bookmarks.

Prize #2 is an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of The Manifesto Covenant by Trinity Faegen PLUS an assortment of bookmarks.

Both of the books in the giveaway are used, and have light shelf wear.

The Fine Print:

Giveaway Hop is open from June 20th (12:01 a.m.) and will run thought June 26th (11:59 p.m.). Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, age 13 years and older. Winner will be selected June 27th and will be contacted via e-mail. Winner will be selected via random number generator, Random.org.

To enter, simply leave a comment on THIS post only telling me what your favorite thing about Summer is. When commenting please make sure to leave a VALID e-mail address.

Don’t forget that there are a ton of other blogs participating so check them out here.

Good Luck and Happy Hopping!

Book of the Week: Say Hello to Zorro

Say Hello to Zorro by Carter Goodrich

Published: 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

From the end papers readers will be able to tell the kinds of personalities the two main characters – Mr. Bud and Zorro – have. One’s fiesty (Zorro) the other is more chill (Mr. Bud).

I love how this book shows that opposites really do attract.

It shows that all living things – human or animal – have their own unique schedules. Showing we are all set in our ways and don’t always love change.

This book gives non-dog owners a glimpse into the life of a dog. Which according to Mr. Bud is sleeping, going out for walks, eating, waiting for greet and fuss time, and of course sleeping some more. Oh, the life!

Zorro looks like on ticked off pug when we first meet him.

Mr. Bud does NOT like his routine interrupted. But really, who does?!

I love how this book shows how sometime one dog may get more attention than the other, but that doesn’t mean that one dog is loved more than the other.

Zorro is a bit of a toy hog.

Mr. Bud may be older, but he certainly has no problem standing up for himself.

I think this book illustrates the importance of compromising and the importance of sharing.

Friends can come in all shapes, sizes, and dispositions. And this book shows that friends can be made anywhere, and at the most unexpected time.

Sometimes doing something with a friend is just more fun … like going for long walks.

This book shows the importance of acceptance. And than we shouldn’t judge someone superficially.

Even though Mr. Bud and Zorro or friends, they still squabble. It’s a realistic portrayal of relationships.

Dog lovers will fall in love with this book.

There’s a follow-up to Say Hello to Zorro.

The writing is simple. But really makes a statement.

The illustrations are soft, alluring, and makes the writing pop!

This was a really fun book to read. It confirms I’m a dog kind of person.

The front of the book features an illustration of both Mr. Bud and Zorro, front view, while the back shows the two characters from the back! I think that attention to detail makes this an awesome read that both children and adults will love.

Mr. Bud and Zorro made me laugh a lot.

Let’s Talk About …

BEA. Book Expo America.

Last week I was one of the many (and I mean MANY) who were lucky enough to attend BEA. Wait, what is BEA you ask? For those of you who don’t know BEA is a publishing event that takes place every year in New York City. It’s probably the biggest publishing event in the U.S. And every book loving person is there – from publishers and publicists, librarians and bloggers, indie presses to library suppliers.

For three – four including the pre-meeting/convention day – straight days books and bookish folks take the Javits Center by storm in the hopes of catching some great panels, meeting their favorite authors, and picking up some highly anticipated books. It’s three exhausting days full of books and people who love books!

I didn’t get to go to the bloggers convention that took place Monday, June 4th. Admittedly, it was a bit disappointing, but I had other responsibilities that I had to keep. It’s the one event that I really wish I had attended. But there’s always next year.

Now, I’ll confess I’m not a BEA veteran. This is only my second year in attendance. Last year I attended one day out of three. Mainly because Ally Carter was signing Uncommon Criminals (which was reason enough for me to go).I can’t say which panels to check out, or which to avoid. I can’t tell you which publisher has the best swag. But I can tell you this – be comfortable, make the most of your day (or days) at BEA, don’t be afraid to ask, and be ready to change your plans at the drop of the hat.

I wish I had known these things then. But knowing them this year made for a better BEA experience.

Onto this year’s BEA highlights!

Tuesday, June 5th

Meeting Miss Print at The Donut Pub bright and early.

Picked up Libba Bray’s The Diviners (!!!) within the first twenty minutes into day one of BEA. (You just don’t know how long I’ve waited to get my grubby little hands on this book!)

Learned very quickly that Scholastic and all the wonderful people connected to it are AWESOME! True story, last year since Miss Print and I only attended one day we did miss out on some great signings and some great books. One of which was Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races. ARCs of The Scorpio Races were under tight wraps, but somehow we both managed to score a copy of it. This year, Maggie Stiefvater had another ARC – The Raven Boys – up for grabs, an ARC that was just as tight under wraps as The Scorpio Races. Yet again, the generous people of Scholastic gave us each a copy of The Raven Boys – hours before the signing was even taken place.

I walked right past John Green! Yes, the John Green! Not going to lie — totally had a fangirl moment. Like “OMG! There’s John Green!” (squeals and fans herself)

Coffee backpacks … enough said!

The awesome Gabrielle Zevin loved my Moo business cards!

Got to meet Andrea Cremer and get a signed ARC of Rift just minutes before her signing time was about to end, literally mintures before.

Met Judith Viorst for the second time!

Miss Print and I were actually able to eat! Which honestly, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to do.

Scored a copy of beloved author’s R.L. Stine’s Red Rain, and even though I didn’t get it signed, I did get to actually see him, stood right next to him actually.

Learned ask and you shall receive. After checking out the Egmont booth, I realized there were no copies of Shadows (Book 2 of the Ashes trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick). So after asking, I received exactly what I was looking for.

Walked past John Green AGAIN! Hand another fan girl moment!

Met fellow bloggers from far and wide.

The Books:
Origin by Jessica Khoury, The Diviners by Libba Bray, Rift by Andrea Cremer, Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, The Future We Left Behind by Mike Lancaster, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, False Memory by Dan Krokos, Beta by Rachel Cohn, Beautiful Lies  by Jessica Warman, Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick, Because it is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin, Red Rain by R. L. Stine, Amber House by Kelly Moore, The Golden Door by Emily Rodda, Wake by Amanda Hocking, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, Princess Academy 2: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale, Zom-B by Daren Shan, The Blessed by Tonya Hurley, Eventide by Tracy and Laura Hickman, Gods and Wariors by Michelle Paver, The Farm by Emily McKay, Lulu Walks the Dogs by Judith Viorst, The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner, The Demon Catcher of Milan by Kat Beyer, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

Wednesday, June 6th 

Had a new (borrowed) suitcase that was not ripped.

Found a less packed bag check on the lower level of the Javits Center. A bag check with nicer ladies working who don’t grab at your arms.

One of the first books I picked up was Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell. Even though I’m not a hugh Glee fan, I think he’s great, and have been super excited to read this.

Sarah Mass’s line was EPIC! It was great to see such an outcome for a debut author. Makes me even more excited to read Throne of Glass.

I made it work – I met, the one, the only Tim Gunn!!!

Diana Peterfreund ROCKS! Making me even more excited to read For Darkness Shows the Stars. Her signing was only a half hour long, only a mere thirty minutes. Because there were so many people lined up, she stayed way past her scheduled autographing time and finished signing coping for the rest of us at the back of the line.

Scored a copy of Marie Lu’s Prodigy … and it’s signed by Marie Lu herself!

While waiting to meet Marie Lu, bumped into Alecia Whitaker, author of Queen of Kentucky. Who I also interviewed right here on the blog. Found out she was telling another author friend about me/my blog. How awesome is that?!

Met Susane Colasanti and had a moment with her! And accidentally held up her very long line.

Found out that sometimes waiting until the very last moment of a signing session is the best way to go.

Found out people bond while waiting on super long lines.

Flashed a postcard to the lovely lady at Scholastic, not only did Miss Print and I pick up an ARC of The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, but we also met the author Sharon Cameron and had her sign our ARCs.

The Books:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass, Venom by Fiona Paul, Keeper of the Lost Cities by Sharron Messenger, The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, Entice by Jessica Shirvington, The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal, Breed by Chase Novak, The Land of Storie: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, Drama by Raina Telgemeier, The Innocents by Lili Poloquin, Crewel by Gennifer Albin, Prodigy by Marie Lu, Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone, Undead by Kristy McKay, 3 Below by Patrick Carman, Dark Lord by Jamie Thompson ,Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, Altered by Jennifer Rush

Thursday, June 7th

Picked up a copy of all the ARCS I was hoping to pick up, some of them were even signed by the authors.

Author Eliot Schrefer and his monkey!

Kristin Cashore’s line was insanely long, but I still got to meet her and get a signed copy of Bitterblue.

Realized BEA forces you to read all those books that have been on your waiting list forever.

Even though Miss Print and I didn’t make it to Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys signing on Tuesday, we did make it to the signing she did with fellow authors Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff for The Curiosities.

Authors are my rock stars!

The last day didn’t seem as packed as the first two.

Made it out before the official close time, and was able to grab a cab relatively quickly.

Even though I didn’t make it to Victoria Schwab’s signing still managed to meet her, get a hug, and snap a picture!

The Books:

The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, Surviving High School by M. Doty, Black City Elizabeth Richards, Skinny by Donna Cooner, Fathomless by Jackson Pierce, Ferocity City by Alissa Grosso, Cadillac Chronicles by Brett Hartman, Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, Endangered by Eliot Schrefer, In A Glass Grimmley Adam Gidwitz