Friday, September 30, 2011

Rookie Magazine

a.k.a. my new favorite thing.

I first learned about Rookie Magazine from Stephanie Kuehnert's blog. And I try every weekday to log on and read the selections. There are three selections posted each day, at roughly 3, 7, and 11.

*picture from Rookie Mag welcome letter*

Rookie Magazine, while targeted at teen girls, is fun for any age. I'm 28, and it looks like a lot of the contributors are close to my age. So when they talk about their high school years, it's about the same time I was in high school.

There's fiction, real stories, pictures and photos, playlists, and fantastic art. Definitely check it out and look out for your opportunity to get involved with this online magazine!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Review: Shade

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready sat on my shelf - signed - for over a year. I had met Jeri a few times, and as another signing came up, I decided I had to read something of hers before then. So... I finally picked up Shade.

I realized as I started it, I hadn't even read the synopsis. I knew it was about ghosts and teens who can see them. But the bit about our main character losing her boyfriend, Logan, surprised me. Yeah, clearly I hadn't read the synopsis. But one thing that shows me is how much I value the opinions of my friends that read and book bloggers. I had picked it up, solely based on hearing others say how good it was.

And I have to agree. It was good. Well... amazing probably fits better. I loved it. I didn't want to put it down. The world Jeri's created, a world where the "shift" has made it so that everyone born after it can see ghosts is complex and interesting. Aura was the first born post-shift, so she can ghosts. In the dark, they shine violet. In the sun, their glow hides them. This is the first time I've ever read a book in which ghosts had rules.

I'm very excited to read book two in the series, Shift. But I'm going to wait a bit closer to the release of book three, Shine, so there is less wait. In the meantime, I'll be checking out Jeri Smith-Ready's other series.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Giveaway

Every year books are challenged. Sometimes it's the same books over and over. My opinion on banning books? I think it shouldn't be allowed. If a parent doesn't want their child to read a book, then that's their business. But no one should be telling other adults or children of others that something isn't appropriate.

To be honest, I think a lot of time, these adults don't give their kids enough credit. Reading about teens drinking, partying, having sex, etc... it's not going to convince a teenager to do those things. So, in honor of banned books week, I'm giving away a wonderful book that has been challenged and banned numerous places.

To enter, you must:
1. Follow this blog.
2. Be 13 or older.
3. Have a US mailing address. (If you don't, but know someone who will send it to you, you can use that address)
4. Fill out this form.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: A Girl Named Willow Krimble

She doesn't know magic... She's not a super hero... Her power will amaze you...

So, you’ve just discovered that the person who has tormented, mocked and humiliated you for the past three years is lying in the school parking lot, bleeding internally from a hit and run accident. No one else is around and you need to get to a life-and-death family emergency of your own before it is too late. What would you do? Oh, did I mention you have the secret ability to heal others just by touching them? This is just one of the many situations 13-year-old Willow Krimble must face in this Web Novel, A Girl Named Willow Krimble.

Willow lives with her mother and older brother, Wyatt; she loves hanging out with her best friend, the feisty and sarcastic Razzel Fiora, and she has a close relationship with her grandmother. Seems pretty normal, right? It might be if the two most popular girls in middle school, Shayla Stergus and Snella Burenbine, 

did not taunt and remind her, on a daily basis, 
that she was born without her left leg.

Forced to maneuver through obstacles most teenagers would not need to tackle, Willow is suddenly blessed (or cursed?) with the unusual power to heal others through touch. Ever selfless, Willow’s desire to help the injured and sick thrusts her into a world where she is given immense responsibility, putting the needs of others before her own, all the while trying to maintain her secret.

Willow’s adolescent journey takes her through an emotional cyclone where she finds joy and purpose in helping an array of patients from an old man with Alzheimer’s to a mauled animal in a pet store. But Willow soon finds out there are limitations to her ability and, no matter how hard she might try, she cannot save everyone.

Through the intermingling of joy and pain, Willow is repeatedly tested to discover just how strong she can be, how strong she has been her entire life, and how everyone possesses the ability to effect another person’s world, with or without a secret power.

I was asked to review A Girl Named Willow Krimble, by author Giuseppe Bianco, months ago. I finally picked it up, and I can't believe how much I loved it! I've not read a lot of middle grade novels. I loved Harry Potter and The Spiderwick Chronicles, but they're fantasy. There's fun and magic. But I've not enjoyed many middle grade contemporary novels. Even though there is a bit of magic in this novel, it's definitely a contemporary.

Willow is a thirteen-year-old girl who finds she has the uncanny ability to heal people. Anything from a small cut or scrape up to Alzheimer's. She has a disability, a prosthetic leg, yet she doesn't let that stop her from being an amazing girl with a lot of strength. I found, even at 28, that I related to Willow. Or, rather, the memory of my tween self related to her. While many of the events in her life are very different than mine were, the effects were very similar. I loved her relationship with Razzel. Such good friends are hard to come by.

This amazing book should be read by everyone. A Girl Named Willow Krimble was originally published for free online. You can read it here. But you really do want a copy of it. Visit this page for information on ordering a copy. And while you're on Willow's site, be sure to check out the extras. Author, Giuseppe Bianco, also illustrated this beautiful cover.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Book Birthday: Dear Bully

You are not alone

Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.

Bullying is something that, as most of you probably know, starts before kindergarten and doesn’t necessarily stop. Bullies can be small children or grow adults. They can be male or female. And their reason for bullying… unfortunately, they don’t really need one. It seems to be a sport for some.

I’m overweight. I always have been. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to lose weight. I never starved myself. The fact is… I suck at dieting. I love dancing, and I used to have class every night, but it never helped me lose weight. Why am I talking about this? I was picked on and teased my entire childhood for being overweight.

There was not a day that went by that I wasn’t bullied in school. I’ve always been a bit over-sensitive… especially when it comes to my weight. I cried, and that only fueled the fire. James, Morgan, Corey, Matt… I remember their names and their faces. And even now, at age 28, tears come to my eyes when I remember how miserable my life was back then.

I’m excited to read Dear Bully. So many amazing authors participated in this anthology, including: Stephanie Kuehnert, Carrie Ryan, Lauren Oliver, Nancy Werlin, Holly Cupala, Ellen Hopkins, and Cecil Castellucci.

Be sure to check out the Dear Bully website, like the book on Facebook, and follow the Twitter feed. And more importantly... grab this book and get reading.