Monday, December 31, 2012


On behalf of everyone at BWOBNY we'd like to wish all our friends and followers a very Happy New Year!  May your 2013 be filled with good times and great reads.

At the beginning of 2012, we all challenged ourselves to personal reading goals.  I set out to read 100 books.  I tried my best but ultimately read only 84 books however this was better than 2011 where I only read 54 books.  So, I was quite proud of myself.   Some of my favorites from 2012 included "The Longest Way Home," by Andrew McCarthy, "The Siren," by Tiffany Reisz, and "The Next Best Thing," by Jennifer Weiner.   If you're curious about the other 81 books I read, you can look me up on 

Alan read about 20 books this year, he lost count on his official tally.  His favorites included Mira Grant's "Newsflesh" trilogy and Lee Child's "One Shot." 

Busy mom Jess P. didn't get to do too much leisure reading once Ana was born but she really enjoyed "The Help," by 

Rachel aimed to read 75 books this past year.  She lost track of exactly how many books she read this but judging from her rather large list of favorite reads this year, I am certain she either met or came very close to meeting her goal.  Her favorite books this year included the graphic novel serial "Bone" by Jeff Smith and "Amulet" by Kazu Kibuishi.   "IT" and "11/22/63" by Stephen King were also too amazing for [her] words. She also loved "Ready Player One" by Ernest Kline, "The Visible Man" by Chuck Klosterman, "Goose Girl" by Shannon Hale, "Shatter Me" by Taherah Mafi, "Fever" by Lauren Destefano, "The Tale of Despereaux" and "The Magician's Elephant" by Kate DiCamillo, "Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbit, "One Day" by David Levithan, "Serpent's Shadow" and "Mark of Athena" by Rick Riordan, "Unorthodox" by Deborah Feldman, and finally,  "Heart Shaped Box" by Joe Hill.

Rebecca read an impressive 146 books, just 4 books short of her 150 book goal and Jess B. read a whopping 162 books this year!!  

How many books did you read in 2012?  Any reading resolutions for 2013?  Share them with us and we can all cheer each other on.  It's a much easier resolution to keep than going to the gym, right?   

Get a jump start on your 2013 reading by entering our Blogiversary Giveaway!!  Dozens of books are up for grabs. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Movin on Up !

As we continue to celebrate our One Year Blogiversary, I thought it'd be a great time to check in and see how life has changed for the BWOBNY crew since our store closed and we entered the next chapter of our lives.

Alan aka Basso for Hire continued to perform in a number of shows this year, including one opera, and tried to get more consistent his blogging. In addition to writing for BWOBNY, he writes for his personal blogHe is pleased that his click count has improved over the year.  He also works full time weekdays in Manhattan and spends his weekends working for Blue Buffalo where he chats with people about their dogs and cats.

Jess P. had quite the year,  she struggled with unemployment during the first few months but then in April the birth of her daughter Anastasia Zalene changed everything.  Despite being born 2 month early, Little Miss Ana blossomed and was home by Mother's Day.  From April to mid-November, Jess was a stay at home mom until finding a job.She is now a keyholder for Hallmark in the Poughkeepsie Galleria.  While she misses Borders, she has found great work environment and good people to work with. 

Rachel also made some exciting changes in her life, she began working at Barnes and Noble and was promoted to Children's Lead. This helped her realize her love of children and gave her a goal and a direction in life. She will be going back to school in January to study Early Childhood Education and she can't wait to get started!

Rebecca couldn't stay away from a bookstore for long either, so she now work part time at Barnes & Noble along with Rachel. In addition, she finished her MA in English and finally figured out what she want sto be when she grows up.   She started working towards a Masters in Library and Information Science this fall. As if that isn't enough, she also passes on her love for literature to freshman students as an adjunct professor of English.  She admits her life is full but it's full of what she loves so she is quite the content, if busy, woman.  

As for me, I continue to work at a law firm. I miss working at Borders a great deal but I've filled the void and the free time by working on my various passion projects such as this blog and screenwriting.  I'm currently filming a short film that I co-wrote with a good friend of mine.  Like Tracy Jordan, I dream of being an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) recipient!  When I'm not blogging, writing, filming or fantasizing about David Arquette, I use the rest of my creative energy as an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics.   

While the closing of Borders was a sad day for all of us, we have persevered and from the looks of things we're all doing better than ever.  However, I'm confident that none of us would pass up the chance to get our store back. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Pop Up Book

When I was a kid my sister and I had 2 pop up books that I remember.  One was the stories of Jesus and the other was one about American Monuments. When I started at Borders 9 years ago it looked like pop up books were making a comeback due to two men, Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart.

These two men have redefined the pop up book for the world today with very intricate designs and even some cool light effects.  Every year around this time people are always looking to see if the holiday Sabuda books are on sale.  Which of course they aren't but man if they were you would really be getting alot of bang for your buck.

One of my favorite holiday titles from Mr. Sabuda is Winter's Tale.  At the end there is a house that lights up.

Every time there was a new release for a Sabuda or Reinhart we would always await the book to come in so we could get a sneak peek.  Now at this point I would never pay the money for them, because Anastasia would either rip it to shreds or attempt to eat it.  But you can be assured that when she is a bit older I will shell out the $20+ so that we have these wonderful works of art.

So my question to all you blog readers there, do you have a favorite pop up book?

Thanks for reading this, and I am so sorry I have missed the past couple of months...being a working mom has really stretched me thin!!!!

And just because you haven't seen her in a few months here is Anastasia and I a couple weeks before Christmas!  And to all you Borders fans, that is actually one of my SBC shirts that I treasure!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Eve is finally here!  Hopefully you're getting ready to gather with your friends, family and loved ones.  Everyone at BWOBNY would like to wish all our friends, fans, and followers and very Merry Christmas.

Here are some of the books we'd like to see under our tree tomorrow.

Eileen, hopes that Santa brings her a new bookcase to store her other wish list items: "Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself" by Alan Alda, "Beauty: a Retelling" by Robin McKinley, and maybe some real snow? 

Eileen, you can have all the snow you want, just keep it over at your place, OK?

Jessica P. would like "What to Expect the Second Year," by Heidi Murkoff so she can prepare for whatever shennanigans little miss Ana throws her way.

Rebecca is hoping the elves found "Where's the Doctor?" and "When's the Doctor?","Where's Waldo," type of book for fans of Dr. Who plus, the "Storm" graphic novels by Richard Castle, "Ten" by Gretchen McNeil, and "Jane" by April Lindner. 

I know that Rebecca has been very good this year so I am sure Santa will be filling her stocking with all of those goodies.   

Stacey already gifted herself Penn Jilette's latest book, "Everyday is an Atheist Holiday," but she'd also like new copies of "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs," and "Killing Yourself to Live," by Chuck Klosterman.  

As for me, I'm hoping Santa and his elves work with Her Majesty's Secret Service to deliver "Bond on Bond," by Sir Roger Moore and Cyndi Lauper's self titled memoir. 

What are you all wishing for?  We're giving away lots of goodies like Santa too!  Just check out Wednesday's post and enter our Blogoversary giveaway!!  Merry Christmas.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blogoversary! Giveaways! Rory the Bookclub Cat!

Yesterday was our blogoversary! We can't believe we've been having fun sharing books and stories and experiences with you guys for a whole year. Even though the closing of Borders was sad and we would love to have our store back again, this blog is one good thing that's come out of it.

We never imagined that a book club/monthly get together to keep in contact would turn into something like this, but we are so glad it has. And we are so glad there are so many of you who have come along with us!

Rory came along right about the time the book club started and he's grown as much as our blog has! Check out the new tab up top to see all of his escapades!

To celebrate we have a whole bunch of fun stuff to give away. We corralled all the rest of our BEA goodies and put together 6 (yes, you read that right, 6!) fabulous book bundles - we've got a little something for any kind of reader.
So check out the bundles and then enter the contest below! You can enter just by answering our question in a comment on this post and letting us know which book bundle you've got your eye out. Then you can earn plenty of bonus entries by doing things like following us on Twitter or Facebook, spreading the word about the contest, or even making a video about what bookstores mean to you!

And check back over the next couple of weeks as we hope to have some updates on where some of our former booksellers are now, book reviews, and all the quirky fun you've come to expect of your lovable BWOBNY group :)

Kool Kid and Terrific Teen Bundle
includes the following:
How to Train Your Dragon Mix & Match book
Operative by Kate Kaynak
Vegas Tryout by Lorena Schultz Nicholson
STAT: Double Team by Amar'e Stoudemire
The No Dogs Allowed Rule by Kashmira Sheth
Assorted Swag
Tantalizing Teen Titles Bundle
includes the following:
Operative by Kate Kaynak
Skinny by Donna Cooner
Surviving High School by M. Doty
My Own Revolution by Carolyn Marsden
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Starting from Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
Assorted Swag
Non-Fiction Novelties Bundle
includes the following:
Change Your Words, Change Your Life by Joyce Meyer
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? by Rhoda Janzen
The World's Gone Crazy an Uncle John's Bathroom Reader
Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man by Brian McGrory
Assorted Swag
Marvelous Mysteries Bundle
includes the following:
Live By Night by Dennis LeHane
The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
Beauty to Die For by Kim Alexis & Mindy Starns Clark
Schroder by Amity Gaige
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
The Hollow Man by Oliver Harris
Assorted Swag
Fabulous Fiction Bundle
includes the following:
Zoo by James Patterson
Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
Oil by Jeff Nesbit
Murder by Moonlight by Vincent Zandri
Schroder by Amity Gaige
The Hollow Man by Oliver Harris
Assorted Swag
Riveting Romance Bundle
includes the following:
The Lost Prince by Selden Edwards
Wicked Pleasures by Penny Vincenzi
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? by Rhoda Janzen
In Her Sights by Robin Perini
Diamond Dreams (autographed!) by Zuri Day
Courting Justice (autographed!) by Brenda Jackson
Sweet Southern Nights (autographed!) by Rochelle Alers
Assorted Swag
We're giving you plenty of time to spread the word and maybe even play with a video, so get going! Tell us how a bookstore impacted your life in the comments below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

Christmas Day is just a week away!! Are you ready?  Some of today's new releases may be just right to fill those stockings.

For the sleuths in your life, you may want to check out "Whispering Death," by Gary Disher or "Slash & Burn," by Colin Cotterill.

For your friends who are out of this world, you may want to look for "Nexus," by Ramez Naam or "The Merchant of Dreams," by Anne Lyle over in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section today.

If your friends and family like sappy holiday movies and jewelry commercials, perhaps you'll want to pick up "The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda," by Sophia Barnes, or "Renegade," by Nancy Northcott," from the Romance section.

"Crash" and "Clash," the first and second installments in Nicole Williams' contemporary Romeo and Juliet style e-book trilogy make their paperback debut today. classifies the book as Young Adult but the steamy covers and the description, "This racy romance is hot, hot, hot!" Confused me.  So, you be the judge as to whether to buy it for your teen or adult romance fan.

Otherwise, in Young Adult, you'll find the final entry in Laurie Faria Stolarz's "Touch" series.  I can't wait to find out where Camelia's psychometric gifts lead her in her "Deadly Little Lessons" and if she is finally able to choose between Ben and Adam! "The Darkest Minds," by Alexandra Bracken and "The Darlings In Love," by Melissa Kantor are also available today.

Happy shopping and happy reading!  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible. 

And don't forget to check back tomorrow as we celebrate our ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY with LOTS OF GIVEAWAYS!!!  I'm shouting this Oprah style, it's going to be awesome! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

When high school senior Valerie Jensen promised herself she would remain a virgin until marriage, she never imagined she'd find herself in the midst of a media frenzy.  However, that's exactly what happens after her boyfriend dumped her for her convictions and her angry tirade at his new fling lands on a social networking site and promptly goes viral.  She soon finds herself as the poster child for an abstinence campaign and a tabloid darling when a lustful teen rock star becomes determined to get her to break her vow.

I really enjoyed this novel.  It was refreshing to read a Young Adult novel with a strong female protagonist who wasn't stuck in a dystopian universe! Valerie is a modern teen in today's world who is determined to stand up for her convictions and determination to remain a virgin until marriage, which I found admirable.  I loved that Valerie had many interests outside of boys and relationships.  The author also did an excellent job of not writing a preachy narrative.  The pros and cons of engaging in a sexual relationship was explored with equal weight.

I have to add though that I found it really funny that Valerie's boss at her part-time job was described as a "senior citizen" who "eats dinner at 4:30 and goes to bed around seven..."  when she is only in her 60s.  I guess I need to break the news to my 61 year old mother that she is a senior citizen and tell my grandparents who are in their 80's and go to bed after 11PM that they need to get with the program.  Valerie may need to work on her perceptions of age.  Regardless, "V is for Virgin," by Kelly Oram is a fun, fast read that I'd recommend to all teens.  The novel is currently only available as an e-book so check your local online e-book retailers.  For more information, please visit, the author, Kelly Oram's website.

The host of the "V is for Virgin" blog tour is offering a giveaway that you can enter here.  And to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour, please visit the host's site.

As always, I received no financial compensation for this review.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide

You have just a little more than a week to finish up your Christmas shopping.  The BWOBNY crew is here to help with last minute gift ideas for everyone on your list.

For the TV lover, Rebecca highly recommends "any of Nikki Stafford's TV guides.

Her titles include Finding Lost - 5 books on one of the most talked about and loved/hated shows of all time, 'Bite Me' about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 'Once Bitten' on Angel, 'Uncovering Alias' a guide to, well, Alias, and a couple of other titles she edited that are a little harder to get your hands on that are compilations about Xena: Warrior Princess and Star Trek.

Plus, 'LOST Thought: Leading Thinkers Discuss Lost' just came out with one of her essays in it. Her guides are fantastic for new viewers and avid fans alike, with tidbits, questions, connections, and everything you never knew you wanted to know."

For Children and Children at Heart - Rachel suggests "Pete the Cat Saves Christmas" by Eric litwin and "Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas" by Jane O'Connor for everyone between the ages one and one thousand.

She also reccommends "The Night Tree" by Eve Bunting which is "a beautiful picture book that was just introduced to me by one of my coworkers. It makes me feel giddy and christmasy and nostalgic."

Jess P. has a suggestion for new moms and dads needing sleep, "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. Even though she and her husband are still struggling with this issue, it did help them figure out how to get Anastasia to sleep for a while.

I recommend my cousin Emily Neuburger's book, "Show Me a Story," for everyone.  While the book is designed for children, the storytelling concepts and projects are terrific for getting the creative juices flowing in adults too.  Everyone has some kind of story to tell. 

Happy Shopping!  Remember to support your local book stores whenever possible.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A High Kolonic (Kolony, by Glynn Burridge)

"Kolony," by Glynn Burridge (Calusa Bay Publications, 2008) is described on the front cover as "a novel of the Seychelles."  I undertook my assigned mission of reading this book with boyish glee, as it appears to be rigt up my alley: Pirates, unidentified monsters, deeds of daring, etc.

Burridge paints beautiful imagery of the Seychelle Islands, which are north and slightly west of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean.  His love of the area is present, even throughout some of the more gruesome events depicted in "Kolony."

The novel begins with a prologue, set in 1882 England, in which a young, aristocratic woman is wooed and then deceived, brutally raped and murdered by one Eric Liddle, who we learn is a pirate.  Liddle's escape via ship ends the prologue.  The first chapter takes place far away, on one of the Seychelle Islands, and depicts the human sacrifice of young boy by a mysterious man whose most distinguishing feature is an extremely long thumbnail, which has been filed on one side to almost razor sharpness.  So we're clearly dealing with some bad folks, here.

Burridge introduces us to his protagonist, Timothy Scully, at the beginning of the third chapter.  Scully is returning to the Seychelles from the Far East, where he had been working as a diver (SCUBA, not Olympic).  His return is prompted by the news that his fiancee has disappeared. 

Mystery, intrigue, and mayhem ensue.

I'm not going to get into much more, if any, detail about the plot itself.  My overall experience with the book was disappointing, unfortunately, for more than one reason.

First of all, after the prologue, there is really no clear indication that the story has jumped forward to the 21st Century until well into the 2nd chapter.  Nothing in the description of the characters in the human sacrifice episode gave me any clue that the story was no longer set in the late 1800s.  In fact, we don't actually learn that little detail until about halfway through the entire book, which is over 600 pages long (paperback).  That was more than a little annoying to me, because until thumbnail man reappeared, I had no idea why the first chapter was even in the book.  Plotwise, it wasn't necessary as written.

I also had difficulty keeping track of who was speaking throughout much of the story.  Part of this may be related to publishing and printing choices, which I'll address shortly.  But the main problem was Burridge's frequent habit of writing dialogue without beginning a new paragraph whenever changing speakers.  If a writer is going to stray from that convention, he should at least throw in a "he said," or "she said," just to help the reader stay with him.  There were several times when I had to back up almost an entire page just to retrace whose turn it was to speak. 

This next issue could either be attributed to Burridge, or perhaps to his publisher.  I mentioned the dialog not being sufficiently broken up into paragraphs.  But the paragraphs themselves were often difficult to identify.  Usually, a book will indent the beginning of a paragraph, or skip a line, as I'm doing in this post.  Sometimes both, but that's really overkill.  Kolony does neither.  The only indication that a new paragraph has begun is that the previous line of text does not reach all the way to the right hand margin.  As with the dialogue issues, this sometimes made it very difficult to follow the story.  More difficult than I would have thought,  actually.

There is quite a bit of action in Kolony, but something about Burridge's style made it very hard for me to follow it.  Many times I read a passage thinking that the characters were standing within arm's length, only to find out later (through inferrence only) that they were in fact barely within earshot of each other.  It certainly changes the dynamic of a situation to find out that, not only could two rivals not touch each other; they wouldn't have been able to have a successful rock fight.

A few more points, and I'll be on my way...

There was a little too much Deus ex machina for my taste.

My favorite character was a dog.

So many characters were revealed to be in league with "the bad guys" that it stopped being a revelation after a while, and more of a "okay, I was wondering when we were going to find out."

The dog was really big.

The good guys win, sort of.

That was one awesome dog.

Burridge's account of how the bad guys got to be the way they are did not make me suspend disbelief.  In other words, throughout the entire novel, I was fully aware that I was "reading a book," and not experiencing a story.  Big difference.

One of the most badass dogs ever.

The epilogue was in the form of a letter from one character to the protagonist.  By the time I got to it, I didn't really even care that it was set in a script font that was almost too small to read.

I really wanted to be able to recommend "Kolony."  But I'm afraid that dog will eat me if I do.

Next time I'll have a much more positive review, of Mira Grant's "Newsflesh" Trilogy.
Until then, keep reading!
Alan Andrews
Basso for Hire

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Princess Curse - Merrie Haskal

            ~ Published: HarperCollins

            ~Written: Merrie Haskell

            ~Illustrator: (of book cover) Jason Chan

Hello Down Unders! This post will be super short because it's finals week BUT. I just had to share this book with you.

The Princess Curse is a really fun book. The main character, Reveka, is an herbalist working in a castle. There are 12 princesses with a mysterious curse that no one has been able to break. There is a huge reward for whoever might break it. It is Reveka's goal to win the reward so she can become a nun and not marry and just spend time with herbalist stuff.

The story is a mixture between the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Hades and Persephone, with a tinge of the fey world, and a dab of almost historical realism. Reveka is an engaging character you really root for. The world-building is stable and believable. You almost believe this is a real story that happened in a real place across the globe, somewhere near Romania.

I was concerned at first when it took a turn toward mythology, but Haskell wove it in well and created a believable atmosphere. And Reveka responded in a way that I found to be very realistic. There were touches of humor that I incredibly liked.

The only thing that bothered me and Wombly about this story was the cow-herder boy. I was sure there was going to be more to his character than there ended up being.

My friend read this book as well, and I know for her she was a little bit disappointed because there's so much more to the story that she wants to know.

Hopefully Merrie will write more of this world in the future.

For now! Happy finals (if you have such things) and have a good weekend!

If you're interested in buying The Princess Curse here are some links:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

It's a slow week, new release wise.  There is just one new title in Romance and Science Fiction. "Maverick," is Lora Leigh's steamy new romance that's sure to warm you up on these chilly winter nights.  Meanwhile, "The Bones of the Old Ones," by Howard Andrew Jones will take you away to a land of adventure.

Meanwhile mystery fans can delight in new releases such as "Extra Credit," by Maggie Barbieri, "Safe House," by Chris Ewan, "Good Junk: A Cliff St. James Novel," by Ed Kovacs, and "To Darkness and to Death," by Julia Spencer Fleming.

Finally in Young Adult, you'll discover "Love and Other Perishable Items," by Laura Buza, "Not Exactly a Love Story," by Audrey Couloumbis, "Foretold," by Jana Oliver, and "Falling Kingdoms," by Morgan Rhodes.

Will any of these books make your "to read" list?  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible. 

Also, we are pleased to announce that we are just ONE WEEK AWAY from our one year blogiversary!! Be sure to check back for giveaways and lots of celebratory fun!