Archive | March 2014

Book Signing Adventures: Marissa Burt

I meant to write about this wonderful adventure back in January, but oh how work gets in the way sometimes.

Well not today! I’m so happy to share this lovely book signing adventure with you!

Marissa Burt is a fantastic middle-grade author, her books are Storybound (1) and Story’s End (2) and she is also local! I first learned about her books when I lived in England, and sadly I couldn’t get them! Upon my return home they apart of the great haul I had requested from my library.

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I adored them. I loved them so much I checked to see if Burt had any upcoming events. I went to her website and checked her events page. I saw she was doing a signing at a Barnes and Noble – but I didn’t see a start time.

So I tweeted her.

She responded that it had been an old event and I was so embarrassed!

However, all was not lost – because of this interaction the lovely Mrs. Burt tweeted me in November to let me know that she was doing a book signing event in December!

I don’t know how to describe the feeling. An author I seriously admired, remembered that I wanted to meet her and reached out to me. 

Of course I went.

It was amazing.

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She was so sweet, kind and approachable!

I’ve been making a huge effort this year to go to as many author signings that I can, but this one was unique to all the others. She chatted with me for like almost half an hour! I never expected (or should I say not used too) getting such kind attention from a talented writer.

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She took pictures with me (sorry I’m still getting used to my iphone). We shared how we loved reading (and writing) what we wanted children to have access to and was wonderful to just speak to a writer that is passionate about children books!

I have never been more proud to support local and I know I am lucky to live in a state that is full of talented writers.

Thank you Marissa Burt for giving me the opportunity to meet you and speak with you. It was an inspiring opportunity and I’m so grateful for your kindness and encouragement!

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To everyone else that reads middle grade fiction, or has children that age range that have a tough time getting into books – please, please, please check out her series. It’s adventurous, page turning and full of inspiring characters that kids need to be exposed too!

Isn’t her dress fantastic? I love it!

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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I’m going to use the blurb to describe this book – it’s just the best way to go about this fantastic piece of writing:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I adored Fangirl. I saw it trolling on social media for a bit and immediately requested it from my library…which meant I had to wait like five weeks. 

Anyways, once I got my hands on it – I did not put it down! I got shivers reading the opening fan fiction piece! (it’s so spot on Harry Potter – it’s just moving.) 

However, there is a lot more to this story than just the amazing fan fiction obsession that thankfully the world is embracing. It’s also about twin sisters striking out on their own – forming their own identities – falling in love and growing up during that crucial first year of college. There is also mental illness, abandonment and the struggle of not giving up what you believe in. 

This is one powerful book, and there are so many deeper messages that crawl under your skin and sink into your heart. It deserves every bit of it’s hype and I am thrilled to jump on the Rowell bandwagon. 

It’s going to be a fun ride. 

Freshly Published: March 2014

Another month full of birthdays for some amazing books! Here are my picks for this month:

1. Shattered by Teri Terry (Book 3 in the Slated series – FANTASTIC UK YA series!)

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The riveting finale of
the Slated trilogy—
a thought-provoking psychological thriller set in a disturbingly plausible future where the government and its enemies compete to control the minds of the young

Kyla is in danger from both the government Lorders who erased her memory and the terrorists who tried to use her. So now she’s on the run. Sporting a new identity and desperate to fill in the blank spaces of her life pre-Slating, Kyla heads to a remote mountain town to try to reunite with the birth mother she was kidnapped from as a child. There she is hoping all the pieces of her life will come together and she can finally take charge of her own future. But even in the idyllic wilderness and the heart of her original family, Kyla realizes there is no escape from the oppressive Lorders. Someone close to her may be one of them, and even more frighteningly, her birth mother has been keeping secrets of her own.

2. Panic by Lauren Oliver (stand alone)

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Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

3. A Death Struck Year by Makiia Lucier (stand alone)

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For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country–that’s how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode–and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can’t ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can’t help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?

Riveting and well-researched, A Death-Struck Year is based on the real-life pandemic considered the most devastating in recorded world history. Readers will be captured by the suspenseful storytelling and the lingering questions of: what would I do for a neighbor? At what risk to myself?

An afterword explains the Spanish flu phenomenon, placing it within the historical context of the early 20th century. Source notes are extensive and interesting.

4. Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule (stand alone)

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A young soprano enrolls in a remote music academy where nothing, not even her mysterious young vocal coach, is as it seems

Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.

Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school’s production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary? 

Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

Lyrical, gothic, and magical, Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule will captivate and enchant readers.

5. Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam (stand alone)

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Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.

Update

Just a head’s up – my internship for Seattle Health Magazine is almost at it’s end – meaning now it’s the current rush to get everything ready for printing time!

Also, for my regular job – we’re busy getting ready for all the big conferences of the year! (we also just finished up with the AWP last week – it was here in Seattle and amazing!)

My birthday is also coming up which makes it hard to focus on anything – it’s a big year for change!

Hang in there, I’ve been reading lots and can’t wait to share with you what treasures I have come across!

Later,

Ashleyisee