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Saturday, March 31, 2012

IMM: 3/31/12

These are all the books and bookish goodies I got this week; all for review, so my bank account likes me. This week, anyway... Links to everything below, and IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren, of course.
Thanks for watching!

The Books:
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (twice!): http://amzn.to/HBavCE
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis: http://amzn.to/zufAaz
The List by Siobhan Vivian: http://amzn.to/H7TPCf
Stainless by Todd Grimson: http://amzn.to/HGgu5K
Brand New Cherry Flavor by Todd Grimson: http://amzn.to/Hz7l0U
The Vicious Deep swag from Zoraida Cordova: http://amzn.to/rrj86d
Belles by Jen Calonita: http://amzn.to/HHMGnY

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Face Off: Soul Bound vs. Sacrificial Magic

A lot of times, with Friday Face Off, I find myself making notes of "Ooh, this cover reminds me of something - I should track it down."  But every now and then, things will just work out so weirdly, where I'll be thinking of a book and see its twin as I'm thinking of it, or I'll see one and almost immediately see another.  But never have I seen any in such quick succession as this...I was on Goodreads, and one of my GR friends had added Soul Bound as to-read.  I though, Hmm, that sorta looks like the upside down portion of the cover for Balefire, so I made a note to add it to the FFO list - and then I looked down, and the very next item in my feed was another  friend posting Sacrificial Magic as to-read.  And Lo, a Friday Face Off was born!  So ~
Which one would you reach for?  Which makes you want to know more about the story within?
Which one did it better?

And here's the cover of Balefire I was talking about.  See the cheeky over-the-shoulder grin at the bottom - same model?

Last Week on FFO:  13 Little Blue Envelopes blew The Geography of Girlhood out of the water when they went head(less) to head(less).
Winnah ------>

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Take A Bow & The List

TBR Tuesday: Showcasing all the books that are currently staring at you from your "Why aren't you reading me?" pile....

On my TBR

For TBR Tuesday, I generally try to show books that have either been on my shelves for far too long, or books I either don't know when I'll have time to read or don't know if I even WILL read.  Today, I want to show you two books that haven't been on my shelves very long (less than 2 weeks in 1 case, and about a day in the other), but that I find myself curious about.  These April releases were both unsolicited copies from Scholastic, and though I'm not much of a contemporary reader (I feel like I say that a lot), I've been coming around to the fact that I really do like contemporary - I just have to find contemp that suits me.
So I don't know when I'll be able to read them, and I feel like I'm scheduled with books up to my upper eyelashes, but both of these appeal to me, and I'm curious what you think of them.

Take A Bow: This one comes from Elizabeth Eulberg, whom you may remember from last year's Jane in June, when I reviewed her P&P retelling, Prom and Prejudice.  That was super cute, and I had seen Take A Bow pop up various places around the interwebs, so when it and its beautiful cover showed up in my mailbox, I was understandably pleased.  It doesn't come out until April 1st, so I know many of you won't have read it yet.  But for those that were lucky enough to get ARCs or early finished copies and have read them, what did you guys think?  And for those of you who haven't read it, are you planning to?
Take A Bow on Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

The List: I just recently saw this one for the first time.  Like, maybe last week.  I came across it on Good Books and Good Wine, and April's enthusiasm over getting a copy made me curious. I thought about checking on it on Goodreads just to see what it was about, but that was as far as I got.  I'm...easily distracted.  Something shiny took me away from the page and I forgot to add it or look into it further.  But a few days later - lo and behold, my very OWN shiny copy for me to get excited about.  And when I flipped open the jacket and read what it was about, I got even more excited.  Yes, it is very contemporary, but it also sounds right up my alley.  I'll get into why when I finally get around to read it, but needless to say, I'm eager for this one.
This one, again, comes out April 1st.  Any of you read it or looking forward to it?

So what's lurking in your TBR this week?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Neat Things...

Hiya.  I just wanted to pop up a quick post to tell you about a couple of neat things that are going on right now in the bookish world.

1. Danyelle Leafty, author of The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell, is using all of the royalties (print and electronic) from sales of her book (through March 31st) for Kindles for Kids, a project to donate Kindles to the pediatric unit of Utah Valley Hospital.
I thought this was a pretty neat idea, and I love when people pay it forward, so I thought I'd help to spread the word.

Below you can find out more about: 

2. A new company, Gone Reading, offers Bookish gifts and bits of awesome, all for a good cause.  And you know I love something that gives me an excuse to buy bookish things and feel good about it!  Gone Reading donates 100% (!!!) of their after-tax profits to organizations that libraries and reading/literacy promoting organizations, many of which struggle to find funding.
The carry all kinds of nifty gifties, like bookmarks, bookends, journals, bookplates and my personal favorite, book tshirts!
And because they're awesome, I have a special discount code from them, for you, for 25% off your order!  So you can get yourself (or someone as awesome as you) something really cool, save a bunch, and do good in the world.  For reals!

The code is THEBOOKRAT25  and it's good off of anything except bookends, through April 10th.

You can find out more about their philanthropic mission here
or check out the awesome things they carry here!

And if you love me, you'll buy me this Jane Austen for President shirt.  
I kid, I kid.

But seriously, though.  I want this shirt.
Jane Austen Shirts

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom ~ Excerpt and Art Reveal!

As I'm sure you know by now (or at least, as I hope you know by now), that the 2nd annual Fairy Tale Fortnight is next month.  And in that Fortnight, I will be covering a delightful middle grade debut about fairy tales' bumbling Princes Charming, called The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.  But the end of April is a long time to wait, so I've got a little sneak peek: an excerpt from the book coupled with a reveal of the art work for the character Zaubera, misunderstood gardener and wicked witch extraordinaire!
Check it out:

Zaubera was possibly the most powerful witch in the world. She hadn’t always been, though. There was a time when she wasn’t even evil. Zaubera was just a farmer woman living by herself in the small town of Jorgsborg. She was a dabbler in the magical arts, just as every member of her family had been for generations. But she never used her talents to do anything more than help her grow the tastiest turnips the world had ever seen. Still, the magic freaked out her neighbors. Despite her many attempts to befriend her fellow Jorgsborgians, Zaubera was always ignored—or worse, mocked. One particular group of local children used to stand at the edge of her property and call her names like “worm lips” and “hedgehog hair.” Discouraged, Zaubera gave up and retreated to her cottage to live the life of a hermit.

Then came the fateful day when one of the local hunters managed to capture one of Sturmhagen’s giant, fire-breathing beavers. The man brought the creature back to town to show off his catch—big mistake. The beaver broke loose and went on a rampage, setting nearly every home in Jorgsborg ablaze. As the fire raged out of control around her, Zaubera projected a magical force field around her farm, keeping herself and her home safe from the flames. But she noticed a trio of children trapped by the flames, the same children who insulted her daily. Zaubera dropped the shield around her home and protected the children instead. She lost everything she’d worked for, but, she thought, at least the townspeople would finally appreciate her.

Suddenly, a hero arrived. The armored Sir Lindgren galloped into town on his white stallion and quickly slew the beaver. He then rode up to Zaubera and told her to release the children. Confused, she dropped her shield. Sir Lindgren scooped up the kids and rode away.

As the town began to rebuild and people returned to their homes, the townsfolk didn’t thank Zaubera. In fact, they shunned her more than ever. And then she caught wind of a new bard song, “The Ballad of the Knight and the Beaver,” in which the hero knight not only slays the beast but rescues three children from the clutches of a wicked witch. It was at that point that something in Zaubera snapped.

Fine, she thought. If they want a villain, that’s what I’ll give them. She got her gnarled hands on some ancient magic spell books and taught herself some dark magic. Then she wreaked havoc on the town. She used fireballs to blast down every cottage that had been rebuilt. She tore up gardens with sorcerous winds. She shot bolts of mystical lightning at the very children whose lives she’d saved earlier, sending them running, screaming and crying. Everyone fled. And no one ever returned to Jorgsborg.

*Art copyright © 2012 by Todd Harris.

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Make sure you stop by during Fairy Tale Fortnight for my review of Christopher Healy's The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, as well as some extra special goodies!

Find The Hero's Guide on:

And if you want to know more about Fairy Tale Fortnight, or how you can get involved, click the button below!

IMM: March 25, 2012

These are all the lovely books that found a home on my (overcrowded) shelves this week. =D

Before I give you the book links, all me to share with you:
FAIRY TALE FORTNIGHT: http://www.thebookrat.com/2012/03/fairy-tale-fortnight-ii-info-and.html
ROBERT BEJIL (the photog who took the Little Red photo): http://www.flickr.com/photos/robnas/5525355040/
THE HUMMING ROOM REVIEW: http://www.thebookrat.com/2012/03/humming-room-by-ellen-potter-blog-tour.html
ELLEN POTTER INTERVIEW: http://www.thebookrat.com/2012/03/interview-ellen-potter-author-of.html

Hey, youtubes.  Thanks for your AWESOME screengrabs...

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Face Off: 13 Little Blue Envelopes vs. The Geography of Girlhood

These two aren't exactly cover twins, but Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Kirsten Smith's The Geography of Girlhood should do remind me of each other. So this one is a pretty straight-forward face off where the faces are, erm...off.  Not knowing a thing about them other than the covers (so not choosing based on author appeal) would you reach for either of these?  And if so, which one?
Which did it better?

Last Week (well, 2 weeks ago, but who's couting...) on FFO:  Past Perfect went head to head with The Diamonds, with the adorkably quirktastic cover for Past Perfect easily snagging a win.
Winnah ------>

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday: Velveteen

Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Paranormal, 464 pages
Expected publication: October 9th 2012 by Random House BYR
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.


Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It'll be brutal . . . and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

I have been waiting for this one to have a cover so that I could share it with you for WW.  Pretty much been wishing for it since I first heard about it because Daniel Marks (aka dannymarksya, for those of you who follow his Youtube channel or his appearances on YA Rebels) has this deliciously twisted brain that I just can't wait to get a taste of.  Doesn't this description just make you want to read this right now?  
Can't. Wait.

What are you wishing and hoping for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TBR Tuesday: the Fever series...

Before I get to this week's TBR, I just want to say that I just realized I forgot to post last week's Friday Face Off.  And though I do have one that is ready to go (and was ready for Friday...oops), since we're already 1/2 way through the week, I'm just going to hold off and give you an extra few days to vote on whether you like The Diamonds or Past Perfect more...

Now, on to the TBR ~

TBR Tuesday: Showcasing all the books that are currently staring at you from your "Why aren't you reading me?" pile....

On my TBR



Yeah.  Yeah, you read that right.  It's the whole Fever series on this week's TBR.  Well, not the whole series, as I don't own the last book, and have long since read the first.  And I don't need convinving this week either, it's just...

Ok, so the thing is ~ I read the first book in my book club.  Loved it.  Devoured it.  Muttered "Barrons" and "V'lane" under my breath for days.  I wanted to gobble up the rest of the books asap, and since this was around the time of the Borders closings, I figured I'd just snatch them all up and tear through.  Well, there was a hitch in the plan when I couldn't find books 2 or 5 anywhere.  And yes, I know I could have gotten them from the library, but I took it as a sign to wait. (Meaning I was being stubborn and was determined that I was going to find them.)  So instead, I put them on my wishlists and waited for a good copy to crop up, figuring I'd take that as my sign that it was time.  And one just did - Bloodfever, book 2, is now among it's brethren (sistren?) on my bookshelves.  And though I SHOULD BE READING FAIRY TALES right now, I just couldn't resist - I was home sick from work the other day, and I always take that as a sign* (meaning: excuse) to treat the day like a freebie and do what I want, so long as I'm able.  I figured, since it's a day I would have been spending at work anyway, I wouldn't have been getting any FTF reading done regardless, SO CLEARLY that meant I could read Bloodfever and mutter "Barrons" and "V'lane" to my hearts content.
So I did.
And now...
Now I want to tear through all the rest RIGHT NOW. I want to say "Eff FTF!" and go on a Fever binge.

So, I guess for this week's TBR, I don't so much need someone to tell me what they think of the books and where it should fall on my pile - I need someone to talk me down.  Tell me the books will always be there, and that they're not as smexy as I think they are going to be, so it really won't be too much to as to just wait on them until I'm through FTF (and Jane in June - so long!).
OR I need someone to be my enabler...

*You know, I'm not a superstitious person. Honest.

What's lurking in your TBR this week?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fairy Tale Fortnight II Info and Invitation!!

It's almost that time again, my lovelies.  You've heard me talk about it for months now, and so many of you have expressed your excitement and wish to participate. (So many of you.  God, I heart you.)   That's right, it's almost time for FAIRY TALE FORTNIGHT.

I've been working on the button all morning.  This is one of my favorite parts of creating the event, but also one of the most nail-biting (what if I eff it up and everyone laughs?!?).  But it's done, I love it and I hope you will too.  And since now we have button, and I can share button, that means it's time to invite you all back!  [Button makes everything official.]

So I present to you:

Feel free to post it on your blog/site or share it as you see fit.  And I have to give a BIG thanks to photographer Robert Bejil for not only taking this amazing photo, but for allowing it to be used.  You rock, dude.  For reals.  (For reals.  You guys should go check out the rest of this set.)

Now, on to THE DEETS:

  • Fairy Tale Fortnight is a 2 week long celebration of all things fairy tale and fairy tale-esque.  Expect book/movie/tv show reviews, guest posts, author interviews, giveaways, games, general discussions and anything else we can get our fairy godmother to grant us.
  • Because Ashley and I love fairy tales so much (and because we're a little bit anal, and like things to round off nicely), this year's "fortnight" is actually slightly longer, running from April 15th through April 30th.
  • We not only invite others to participate, we encourage it!  One of our favorite things about FTF is connecting with other fairy tale lovers, new and old alike!  There will be a linky up on the first day to share your own blogs, vlogs, interviews and giveaways, etc., throughout the event.  
  • We understand that not all of our fairy tale lovin' friends has a blog, channel or tumblr, or that even if they do, they may not want to use it as a venue for FTF goodness.  Well then, use ours -  There is a form below for those of you who'd like to be considered for guest posts either here at The Book Rat or at Basically Amazing Books.  Due to space, scheduling and time issues, we will likely not be able to accept every guest post, but we will certainly try!  (And if we can't give your post a home ourselves, maybe we can help your post find a home on one of the other fabulous blogs that dives into the FTF stream with abandon!)
  • And I think that's about all that really needs to be said, other than here's last year's Schedule of Awesome if you'd like to know more about what this event is about...
I hope you will consider joining us this year, whether you are an active participant, someone who's just reading along, or even someone who just drops in from time to time for a good dose of fairy dust.  We can wait to share the magic with you...

Want in?
*If you're an author who would like to participate, feel free to contact me directly. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

IMM: St Patty's Day!

I am feeling ALL SORTS of icky in this video, but I gots books!

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, of course.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman:  Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Titan Magic by Jodi Lamm: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Dancing at the Chance by DeAnna Cameron: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads (Sorry for messing up the name!)
The Art of Duke Hunting by Sophia Nash: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

On an unrelated but awesome note, the winner for The Humming Room is SARA K!  Congrats!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

SLATED by Teri Terry (Excerpt #1)

I showed you guys Slated by Teri Terry a little while back on TBR Tuesday, and everyone seemed really excited to hear about it.  Well, I hope this sends the excitement level through the roof, because for the next 4 weeks I'm going to be sharing excerpts of Slated with you, culminating in a little something awesome.
You can read Part 1, the beginning of the book, after the jump; I hope it hooks you like its hooked me; enjoy...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Shadow and Bone

TBR Tuesday: Showcasing all the books that are currently staring at you from your "Why aren't you reading me?" pile....

On my TBR

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Fantasy, 368 pages
Expected publication: June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Alright, so this is a very new addition to my shelves; it's not like it's been staring me down that long.  But all the same - it knows I'm busy right now.  It knows that I have two events to plan and read for, and that it doesn't even come out until June anyway.  And yet it still keeps whispering its siren song in my ear.  I really think I'm going to have to cave and read this like yesterday... I never said I was a paragon of patience, or anything...

So how many of you are planning on reading this one, or have been hearing all the great things I've been hearing?  She lured you in with her song yet?

Oh, and what's lurking in your TBR this week?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In My Mailbox / Book Haul: March 10ish, 2012

Hey, welcome to my birthday week edition of IMM. Links to the books are below, but may I just say, this week was pretty rad? =D

IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren, of course.

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
Life Sucks by Abel/Soria/Pleece
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Mothereffin' Austen
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardguo
Red Velvet & Absinthe, ed. by Mitzi Szereto
Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
aaaaaannndddd (drumroll please)
BURN BRIGHT by Marianne de Pierres!!

Also mentioned:
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

BIG thanks to Marianne, Ksenia, Liz, Cleis and Scholastic!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Face Off: The Diamonds vs. Past Perfect

When I saw the cover for The Diamonds while digging through the Amazon bargain bit awhile back, I was immediately struck with how much it reminded me of the cover for a book from my wishlist, Past Perfect. Though the two covers are by no means cover twins, there are certainly some striking similarities between them.  One is a little more whimsical and cutesy, but they've definitely got a similar thing going.  So which do you like better?  Which would catch your eye on the shelves, and would you reach for either to see what they were about?
Which one did it better?

The Diamonds: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Past PerfectAmazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Random side note: they also sort of remind me of the cover for Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters (Past Perfect especially).   And though I'm not throwing it into the face off, today is the last day you can enter to win it!

Last Week on FFO: Don't Breathe a Word (Holly Cupala) and So Pretty It Hurts (Kate White) went headshot to headshot, with the bold font of Don't Breathe a Word winning the day.
Winnah -----> 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

CLOSED Interview & Giveaway: Ellen Potter, author of The Humming Room! (Blog Tour)

Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming Ellen Potter, author of a sizable stack of awesome kids book, with the latest, The Humming Roombeing her contemporary take on Francis Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.  This is a must read, not only for fans of the classic, but for those who have children, love Middle Grade books, or are just in the mood for something a little whimsical and a lot lovely!  You can check out my review of The Humming Room here.

Hi, Ellen!  Thanks for stopping by The Book Rat and letting me pick your brain!  I loved The Humming Room, so we'll get right into the Qs I had for you! =)
What made you decide to write a contemporary version of The Secret Garden?
I have loved The Secret Garden since I was a child, and there were elements in it that made me think I could do it. Ghosts, tough girls, a creepy setting. I’ve written books about these things before and I was sort of cocky about being able to pull it off; in the beginning, that is. Once I started writing The Humming Room, I realized what a task I had before me. It was, without a doubt, the scariest writing process I’ve ever experienced.

Tell us a bit about finding a balance between being true to the original story, but also making it your own.
That was very, very tricky. I knew I wanted to stick with the original storyline—why mess with a good thing? But I also needed to put my own stamp on it. I didn’t want it to be so close to the original that readers would wonder why on earth I had even bothered to retell it. For me, the key was finding the right setting. I considered placing the story in New York City at first. I thought that would be sort of cool and different. But I quickly realized that it wouldn’t work. My main character, Roo, needed to feel isolated. I was living up in The Thousand Islands region of New York at the time, and I decided that an island on the Saint Lawrence River fit the bill perfectly.
[Note from Misty: It really did.  Loved the setting.]

Since The Secret Garden is so important to you, as you were writing The Humming Room, did you ever struggle with capturing the right tone, or feeling like you had to do The Secret Garden justice?
All the time. I’ve read interviews with young actors who are thrown into a film with their idols, like Robert De Niro. They almost always say that they were starstruck into speechlessness until De Niro (or Streep or Clooney ) put them at ease. I felt that same paralysis for many months. I generally launch right into a new book with silly abandon, but for The Humming Room I spent a long time trying to nail the setting and the tone. I wish that Frances Hodgson Burnett had been around to pal around with me and put me at ease. Or maybe she would have slugged me.

There is a bit of a magical realist element to The Humming Room, which is something that was there in The Secret Garden, but I think is heightened in  The Humming Room ; can you tell us a bit about creating the world and the sort of magical realist aspects, and why you chose to take that approach with the story?
Many of my books skew toward magical realism. Honestly, I feel like real life skews toward magical realism. But The Secret Garden is filled with magical realism too, which was part of the reason why I felt I could tackle this retelling.
As for the magical elements, I think I began to see the possibilities while sitting by the St. Lawrence. The river seemed to be alive, with its own moods. It became a character in the novel, and out of the river emerged the legend of the Faigne, a sea creature. Is he real? We never find out for sure, though I have my suspicions.

This Penguin Threads edition
is SO on my wishlist!
Do you have any plans to continue Roo's story beyond where The Secret Garden ends, or plans to rework any other favorite bits of literature?
I think Roo’s story feels complete. If you had asked me the second part of this question while I was writing The Humming Room, I would have said NO! It was the hardest book I’ve ever written. But you know, it’s one of those childbirth kinds of things. Once it’s over you start thinking about possibly doing it again.

If you could be friends with any characters you met in books as a child, who would you chose now, and who would you have chosen then (excluding The Secret Garden characters)?
Interesting question. As an adult, I think I would choose Jamie in From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. He was so practical but also game for adventures. Plus he was a card shark, which always comes in handy.
As a kid I probably would have chosen Calvin O’Keefe from A Wrinkle in Time. Because he was cute.

Roo has a penchant for stealing little odds and ends; in your mind, what is her most prized piece of thievery?
I don’t really think she valued any of the things that she stole. The act of stealing was a way of comforting herself.

If you could cast The Humming Room, who would be your ideal actors?
For Roo, it would be a girl who has never acted before. Some ragtag girl who was spotted in a schoolyard. There’s an old movie called Days of Heaven with Richard Gere. The movie is narrated by this tough young girl with a raspy voice (the actress is Linda Manz) She came close to how I pictured Roo.
As for Jack . . . well, it would have to be someone pretty hot, but I’m out of the loop on hot young actors. Any suggestions?

If you could introduce one of your characters from either the original The Secret Garden or from one of your other books, who would you introduce and how would they react to each other?
Love these questions! Okay, I would introduce Mrs. Medlock, the mean housekeeper in The Secret Garden to Mrs. Carnival, the mean neighbor in my book The Kneebone Boy. Then I’d let those two old ladies have a Friday Night smackdown.
[Misty's note: Future Friday Face Off, anyone? ;P ]

Thanks so much for stopping by, Ellen!  
For all the rest of you, I would highly suggest you pick up a copy of The Humming Room - whether you intend to share it with a kid in your life or keep it all to yourself, I promise you, it will be worth it.  


I'm the last stop on the tour, so make sure you stop by all of the other blogs, whose stops are already up!

Alrighty, now on to the giveaway!!
please note this is US/CAN only!

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter (Blog Tour)

*** Make sure you check out my interview with Ellen here, and while you're there, enter to win a copy of The Humming Room!

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
Amazon  |  Book Depository  |  Goodreads 
Fantasy / Literary, 192 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.

I guess I should start by telling you how much I love the classics - how I was this weird little girl who read Oliver Twist like 45 times, or got more excited about the box of illustrated classics I got for Christmas when I was 9 than I was for the toys (in fact, I remember none of the toys, but still have most of the books).  And I should probably tell you about how much I adore Francis Hodgson Burnett, and have read The Secret Garden more times than should be mentioned in polite society.

I should tell you this so that you understand the equal parts excitement and trepidation I feel when someone says they are rewriting a classic, especially one so beloved.  There's always the chance that it's going to be a giant fail, and that I will be stuck with forever associating it with a favorite book of mine.  But thank you, grilled cheesus, this was not even a little bit fail.  Ellen Potter really managed to capture the things I loved about The Secret Garden but still make them her own, which is no easy feat.  She managed to capture the atmosphere of TSG, which is impressive because we live in a much less isolated world now.  But for all that, people still feel isolated, which is one of the keys of the story.  Potter captures both senses of isolation, the actual physical isolation and the way people close themselves off, and she worked them together beautifully.

Potter also captures the tone of the original.  There's a dreaminess that I think a lot of children's books fail to capture, but that Burnett and Potter have.  It makes me wistful, makes me miss being a kid, exploring and lounging in the hazy days of summer.  Reading these books is almost like a memory - something is triggered and you can almost feel it again. And there's a longing that comes with that, a sort of knowledge that it can't go on forever, so it's bittersweet.  Potter weaved this atmosphere, this feeling, throughout the book, and it made me connect to it in the way that I absolutely love, and that all children's books should strive for.  It was a lovely reading experience because of it.

But what's most impressive is that she captured the heart of the book.  I really, really liked Roo's blossoming.  OMG that was a horrible pun.  But I'm leaving it because it's totally true, and is an element that was carried over nicely from The Secret Garden.  The whole story at its core is really about blossoming, about growth.  About making connections to something outside of yourself, sending out your roots and flourishing.  This is true of the garden and the characters (metaphors!!! *jazz hands*), and is part of what makes the story so charming and so relatable.  Potter captures that growth and that sort of awakening really well.

Roo was charmingly dysfunctional.  And just charming in general.  As were most of the side characters.  I think some of the negative aspects of personalities from the original were removed or sort of shifted.  There wasn't really much of a mean schoolmarmy thing going on, or as much of a petualant, sick child.  It was there, just a little milder.  Roo was much more likable early on than Mary was.  I think because you can immediately see how much she is hurting, where as Mary just seems spoiled. There is still a tinge of darkness to the story, but I think it's a more understandable darkness for a modern audience, and it never intrudes to the point of making a character unlikable.

My one drawback was that it ended a little too abruptly for me.  Well, maybe not abruptly, but the end was lacking a little of the finesse that had made it so lovely.  It's such a short book, so when a short book that is well developed throughout suddenly lets off at the end, it always makes me feel a little cheated. I can't help thinking in such instances, You weren't running out of room - it's a short book!  Add a little, finish it out nicely for me.  I hate loving and loving and loving something, only to end it saying "Oh..."  [This is not to say it's a bad ending, necessarily, or that the book is any less worth reading.  Just that - it didn't match up, and it left me a teeny bit disappointed.]

But that being said, it is a highly enjoyable story for those who have read The Secret Garden, and for those who haven't, as well as for middle grade and adult readers alike.
Plus, there's the Faigne.  Worth reading, if only for that...

Make sure you check out my interview with Ellen!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Chat: Buzzwords and Deal Breakers

Hey there.

Here's the Book Chat for the month. I thought after last month's passionate and draining Negative Review chat, we could do something a little lighter. Can't wait to find out what your buzz words and deal breakers are!
Feel free to link up your video as a response, or leave a link in the comments!

And if you want to check out the EXCELLENT responses to last months Negative Review chat, you can get them in all their glory here!

Totes my new catch phrase... ;P]

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Friday Face Off: Don't Breathe a Word vs. So Pretty It Hurts

This is really late, but...Look, it's a Face Off!

So...this week was my birthday, and I was busy getting drunk with friends diligently working on other blog related things, and I completely forgot to post this week's Face Off.  So, I give you: Holly Cupala's Don't Breathe a Word and Kate White's So Pretty It Hurts.  I think both give a slightly different image of their respective stories, and had I ever only seen one, I would have thought it was a pretty nice cover.  Now, all I think when I see them is, Wait a minute...   So -
Which one did it better?

Last Week on FFO: The US and UK versions of Zoe Marriott's Shadows on the Moon went head to head, with the flowery UK version coming out the clear winner.
Now, I originally felt the same, and I do love this cover, but I found the more I looked at the US version and got used to it, the more I'm starting to really like that one.  I'm curious if we were to have this FFO rematched awhile down the line, after everyone's seen it around a bit more, if the UK version would still come out the winner... Hmm....
Winnah (for now?) ----->

Saturday, March 3, 2012

CLOSED GIVEAWAY: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters

Who's up for a little giving away of things?  I thought so...
So, I've been wanting to play around with Rafflecopter and see if it's worth my time, and if I like the way it's done, SO up for grabs today I have a copy of Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (thanks, Meredith!).  After the book info and trailer you'll find my shiny Rafflecopter form, and we'll see how this thing goes.
The giveaway is US only and the only required entry is to follow Meredith on Twitter, but there are plenty of optional bonuses.

If you guys have an opinion on the whole Rafflecopter thing, or bonus entries, etc., let me know in the comments!  Until then, go forth and win!

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
Contemporary/Humor, 288 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.

Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.

Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…


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