Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

With just two weeks to go before Valentine's Day, love is the air with a plethora of new releases in Romance today.  "A Town Called Valentine," by Emma Cane seems the most appropriate for the upcoming holiday. Meanwhile other contemporary romances include: "Lucky Penny," by Catherine Alderson; "Nauti Deceptions," by Lora Leigh and "Secrets of the Lost Summer," by Carla Neggers.

If you like your romance with a bit of suspense you may enjoy "Before She Dies," by Mary Burton; "Last Man Standing," by Cindy Gerard; "Next of Kin" by Sharon Sala; or "If You See Her," by Shiloh Walker. 

Supernatural romance lovers may want to warm up with "Darkest Highlander," the latest "Dark Sword" novel by Donna Grant or "Third Grave Dead Ahead" by Darynda Jones and history buffs may savor, "My Wicked Little Lies, " by Victoria Alexander.

Science Fiction fans may want to check out "Shadow Ops: Control Point," by Myke Cole; "Wrong Side of Dead" by Kelly Medig or "Article 5," by Kristen Simmons.

And we've got yet another mystery on our hands.  There were no new releases in mystery to be found last week, and all we've got for this week is "Crunch Time," by Diane Mott Davidson, the 16th entry in her "Culinary Mystery Series."  Crunch on that.

Also puzzling is the fact that there are no releases in Young Adult today either.

Perhaps YA fans could take solace with best-selling YA author Shannon Hale's latest novel, "Midnight in Austenland, " a follow-up to "Austenland."  Other fiction new releases include "Homefront," by Kristen Hannah. 

Finally, if you're not sure what to get the Sheldon Coopers in your life for Valentine's Day, you may want to consider, "Star Wars: Millenium Falcon Owner's Workshop Manual."

Happy Reading !  Don't forget to support your local bookstores whenever possible.  Just because our blog is online, it doesn't mean your shopping has to be.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Around the World in 84 Seconds

Books are great, they allow you to escape to another world without leaving your couch.  Here are some of our favorite destinations.

Alan would love to visit Rivendell-Middle Earth as described in Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" novels.  If you talk to Naomi, who also wants to visit Rivendell, she described it as "...awesome and woodsy and has waterfalls and I could learn Elvish and climb trees and it would be awesome..."  Two booksellers want to visit there so I guess it is indeed doubly awesome.

Albert wants to travel to Caladan from the "Dune" series by Frank Herbert because it seems peaceful to him.

Eileen, would like to make a royal trek to Cair Paravel, the castle from C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia." According to her, it doesn't get any better than a castle by the sea with talking animals and trees.

Jessica P. wants to hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and learn magic at Hogwarts as described in J.K. Rowlings' "Harry Potter" series.  

Mallory wants to live in a town I once wanted to move to too, Stoneybrook, CT from "The Baby-Sitters Club" series by Ann M. Martin.  I agree with her that it's an ideal hometown with a Main Street, good neighbors, kids, and the best friends you could ever have.  

Surprisingly, Rachel, the biggest Harry Potter fan I've ever met, would love to travel to  Felurian's Grove from "TheWise Man's Fear" by Patrick Rothfuss.  I asked her why not Hogwarts, and she replied,  "because who wouldn't want to live with a deadly faerie sex goddess."  I agree, you'd probably have to travel to the dark side of Diagon Alley to find something like that.

Rebecca loves the idea of a city floating in the water, so she'd like to paddle on over to the lost city of Faar from J.D. MacHale's "Pendragon" series.

As for me, none of these destinations can compete with my pick, Bon Temps, LA.  The small town as described in Charlaine Harris' "Sookie Stackhouse" books aka the "Southern Vampire" series has something none of these other places have, Bill Compton.  I'm crazy about this southern gentleman vampire and would love to make myself at home in his homestead.  I could elaborate but I'll keep those savory details to myself.

However, I think Claire has the best response of all of us.  She's like to live in the "Thursday Next," universe where Detective Thursday Next jumps through various novels to solve crimes.

Where would you travel to?  Please share with us !

Friday, January 27, 2012

Support Authors in the Hudson Valley Area!

During my years at Borders I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing local talent.  In the comments of our Book Club entry I spoke on how we ended up getting Brandon Mull to do a signing at our store, let me tell you that is honestly the exception.  Most times I get a local author, or publicist calling the store looking for a manager to set up a signing.  I usually said yes because I knew that the store needed events in it.  At one point we were required to have at least 1 event a week (excluding story time).  Over 3 years in Middletown I had the pleasure of meeting some great people who I support 100%  Even when I messed something up, or the vendor didn't get me the proper books in time they were able to make lemons into lemonade and for that I have been grateful.

Now I have authors of different genres so I'm sure you will be able to find a book that is to your liking!


First things first Mr. John Briant.  John Briant was a regular in our store and the Poughkeepsie location.  He has written several books in the Adirondack Detective series.  He is a retired state trooper and criminal investigator.  John's main character Jason Black is very similar to him and he tries to solve various mysteries in the Adirondacks.  Mr. Briant is probably one of the nicest men I have ever met.  Every time he called the store he made sure we didn't talk about just "shop" but about our lives.  I will never forget about a week after we found out we were closing he called the store to see that we were all okay and to thank us for helping him sell books throughout the years.  He always sent a thank you card to myself and the staff after a signing.  That kind spirit makes him a memorable person as well as a local talent.

Another one of our favorites is Owen Palmiotti.

He is the author of two books (and is in the process of writing the third) in the Independent Reader category. I had the pleasure of visiting him during his latest signing at Barnes and Noble in Nyack.  The stories focus on Benjamin Manry and as he explained to my husband this weekend, it's like the Goonies but the treasure is cursed and there's time travel involved.  That was enough to get my dear hubby hooked, so he wants to read it!  Owen always comes to his signings dressed as a pirate just to get peoples attention.  It works too, people are very curious as to why someone is in a bookstore dressed up and they ask about the book!

Let's hear it for some great women authors!!!

 Deva Gantt wrote the Colette Trilogy which consists of Silent Ocean Away, Decision and Destiny and Forever Waiting.  When these books first came out they were self published as one huge novel!  Luckily Harper Collins noticed them and suggested the book be broken into 3 parts and they have been doing very well ever since.  Why do I say they?  Deva Gantt is actualy the pen name of sisters Deb and Valerie Gantt.  The series is a great historical fiction series that focuses on Charmaine Ryan and the family she finds herself apart of in a twist of fate.

Val and Deb are two of the nicest ladies I've met.  I had issues getting their first book in stock and they made arrangements for me to get it into the store.  I wish them the best of luck as they continue on their literary journey!

Finally I must introduce one of our biggest fans, though I know I am one of hers.  The wonderfully kind Michelle Zink.

Michelle writes mostly Young Adult Novels.  She started with the Prophecy of the Sisters series and in a couple months A Temptation of Angels will be released (I personally cannot wait).  The Prophecy of the Sisters series tells of the story of two sisters, Lia and Alice who's fate has been set, but Lia must attempt to change. Michelle is a strong supporter of brick and mortar stores, I am lucky to have met her.  Our last week of business Michelle stopped by the store with goodies for us.  She always supported us as people and I know we will all continue to support her!

Thanks for reading my quick reviews.  Remember pick these books up in your local Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, or Independent store.  If they don't have the book in stock, ask them to order it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Harper Lee: Fraud?

It's not my regular day to post, and everyone should read the next review, written by Rachel, but a friend sent this to me and it was a revelation...
The ugly truth comes out!!

 - Alan

And Then There Were Seventy-Two

For the past several months I have been stuck in a crippling reading rut. I could not for the life of me find a book that could hold my attention, so I fell into the bad habit of watching TV before bed instead of reading. However, my resolution for 2012 is to read at least 75 books.

The first book to drag me out of my reading rut was The Visible Man, by Chuck Klosterman.

This is a unique novel by one of my favorite authors. It tells the story of Victoria Vick, a therapist who is contacted by an enigmatic man claiming to have the technology to become "invisible." At first Victoria is convinced that this man, who she only refers to as Y__, is delusional and possibly dangerous because of his voyeuristic tendencies. Y__ claims that he not only has the ability to conceal his appearance, but that he also spends his time invisible hiding in people's homes and studying them. It is written in the form of a manuscript, and it documents the therapy sessions between Victoria and Y__. Victoria soon becomes obsessed with Y__ and his motives, and this story follows the progression, and ultimately the deterioration, of Victoria's personal and professional relationship with her patient. I loved this book because it has the sharp and eloquent tone that draws me to all of Klosterman's books. It is fast paced and intelligent, and as always the social commentary and Klosterman's love of pop culture are as authentic as ever. If you are interested in this book I would also suggest reading Killing Yourself to Live: 80% of a True Story, (my personal favorite) Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, Eating the Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman IV: Decades of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas, and Downtown Owl: A Novel. I promise you will fall in love with Klosterman's fast paced and brilliant observations.

The next book I read was Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler.

Don't let the title or the YA stigma sway your impression of this book. It is beautifully written and completely relatable. Against all odds, Min Green falls in love with Ed Slaterton, the beautiful school jock, against the protests and warnings of her friends and family. However, when things inevitably  fall apart, Min compiles an Ed box and writes a letter to him explaining why they broke up. Min's voice is painfully beautiful and honest, anyone who has ever had their heart broken will remember and feel Min's intense feelings. The wonderfully simple illustrations make the story feel that much more real. I recommend this book to any girl craving a young adult novel with a little more substance.

Then I FINALLY got to read The Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordan!!! This is the second installment in the Heroes of Olympus series, a spin-off of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

In this installment we finally meet back up with Percy Jackson, and of course, he is plagued with the usual myriad of monsters, menacing gods, grim prophecies and  inconceivable quests that usually accompany a Greek demigod of his caliber. I don't really know how to say more without spoiling the story, but just take my word for it and pick up some Riordan. The books are so fast paced and exciting, but they're also highly educational. I've learned more about Greek, Roman and Egyptian gods, history, and culture from these books than I ever did at school. I would suggest starting out with The Lightning Thief, which is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series. I would then read The Lost Hero, the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series. And if those don't satisfy your thirst for adventure and monsters, The Kane Chronicles is also an amazing series. I was lucky enough to meet Rick Riordan and have him sign my copy of the Red Pyramid when I went to B.E.A. with my Borders babies :] We'd better get there this year!

Finally, for my next book I am starting The Eye of the World, which is the first book in Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series. The Beard and I decided that we would pick out a book for each other this time. I'm making him read All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot because it is one of my all time favorite books.

That's a pretty good start, if I do say so myself. I will be back in a month and hopefully I will have made a bigger dent in my list!

“If I knew I was going to die at a specific moment in the future, it would be nice to be able to control what song I was listening to; this is why I always bring my iPod on airplanes.”
  -Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

It's finally here, "Fallen In Love," the latest book in Lauren Kate's "Fallen" series is released today !  While this is a collection of short stories to tide fans over until the conclusion of the series with "Rapture," in June; I can't wait to get my hands on it.  Consider it Fallen 3.5?

Other new releases in YA include the fourth book in the Mystyx series, "Mesmerize," by Artist Arthur, the sequel to "Angel Burn," "Angel Fire," by L.A.Weatherly, and "Everneath," by Brodi Ashton.

It's a mystery to me why there aren't more releases in Mystery this week but Robert Crais fans will be eager to flip through the pages of "Taken," today.  This fifteenth Elvis Cole thriller revolves around the dark world of human trafficking. 

Readers looking for lighter fare may enjoy the historical romance, "A Lady Never Surrenders," by Sabrina Jeffries. Readers looking for a mix of mystery and romance may enjoy the new romantic thrillers, "Edge of Midnight,"  the third in the "Chasing Evil," trilogy by Leslie Tenter or  "Darker After Midnight, the tenth "Midnight Breed" novel by Lara Adrian.

If you're looking for the antithesis to all of these books, Sophie Littlefield's "Horizon," the third book in the "Aftertime" series about a zombie apocalypse may be for you.   Other new releases in fiction include "A Grown Up Kind of Pretty," by Joshilyn Jackson and "The Flight of Gemma Hardy," by Margot Livesey. 

New author Erin Duffy makes her debut today with, "Bond Girl."  This title really intrigued me.  However, this novel has nothing to do with Xenia Onatopp, Pussy Galore or any girl James Bond was ever with.  It's about a woman who s determined to make it at a Wall Street brokerage firm.  Can you tell I'm anxious for the new James Bond film in November?!

Finally, new releases in Non-Fiction include the biographies/memoirs: "Blood, Bone, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef," by Gabrielle Hamilton; "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus," by Paula Broadwell, and "How I Killed Pluto and Why He Had It Coming," by Mike Brown.  Yes, Mike Brown really is the astronomer whose discovery led to changing of the planetary system as we learned it in grade school!

Happy Reading Everyone !  As always, remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.  Just because our blog is online doesn't mean your shopping has to be.  Put those booksellers to work and have a great week.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Annie Barrows & Angie Sage

Growing up it took me FOREVER to read. And by FOREVER I of course mean I was reading competently by the time I was seven or eight years old. Since my sister was reading by three, I was highly behind. And since I knew books were awesome it felt like it took me much too long. So once I learned how to read "Go Dogs Go" I skipped right ahead to Box Car Children and beyond, missing chapter books entirely, because chapter books were for babies.
Oh how wrong I was!
Now that I am looking into possibly working with children’s literature as a career, I have started reading chapter books, a section of children’s books I missed out on. And found two of my most favorite series ever. I wish there were more books in the series, because I absolutely love them.
The first series I found was Araminta Spookie by Angie Sage. They are adorable. You may have heard of the author through her middle grade series, Septimus Heap.
Araminta lives in a creepy old mansion with her aunt and uncle. Her aunt is persnickety but lovable and her uncle (who sleeps with bats in his special turret) is kind but bashful. Araminta has a bedroom for every day of the week and absolutely loves her house. When her aunt and uncle try to sell the house Araminta is in shock and tries desperately to frighten away the family that comes to look at it. Of course, her entire plan backfires, causing the family to stay.
I love this series because the voice is absolutely real. Araminta sounds like an eight-year-old girl. She has a lot of run-on sentences, and thinks in faulty logic. She’s not a perfect heroine, being jealous at times, and breaks the rules she should probably be keeping, but she learns more about herself and grows as a person through the series.

The second series is Ivy & Bean by Annie Barrows. Annie Barrows also wrote a middle grade book, "Half Magic," but is probably most known for her work with Marry Ann Shaffer in the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." I found the Ivy & Bean books in the bargain section while working at Borders and I absolutely loved them.
Bean (short for Beatrice) watches the new girl move in and decides she doesn’t like her. Why? Because that’s what little kids do. I know I did. The new girl is Ivy and she decides she doesn’t like Bean either. But – of course – by the end of the first book they realize they can be perfect friends and learn to get over the First Impression Syndrome.
This series also is written in a believable dialect. I love that Ivy & Bean have a great imagination and are silly and play games and get in trouble and learn how to grow up just a little bit.
What impressed me with both series is that there are strong relationships between the children and their parents (or parental figures). When they disobey their parents they get appropriately punished instead of simply being forgiven like I have seen with some series that bother me to no end. I love that both Bean and Araminta are rambunctious and a little bit crazy pants. And I love that the books are not preachy, but the children in the stories still learn lessons, just in an organic, natural way. And I loved that I, as an older child-at-heart, could still enjoy these books. Neither Annie nor Angie talk down to their audience ever, not once, but assumes that the children reading their books will be smart and capable of understanding what is going on. Because kids are smart and are capable of understanding what is going on.
I think these books are fabulous and people of all ages can enjoy them.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

January Book Club: Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

The last thing Kendra wants to do is spend part of her summer vacation with the grandfather she barely knows. But her parents have to go on the cruise and she and her annoying younger brother Seth need somewhere to stay. The house is large and they have the entire attic playroom to themselves. Plus there's the pool and the beautiful gardens, but it's not enough for Seth. Despite their grandfather's rules, he wanders off into the woods surrounding the house where he finds winding paths, dark shadows, and a strange old woman. Meanwhile Kendra manages to unravel the mystery in the keys her grandfather gave her. They lead to a secret message: Drink the Milk. Little does she know that her grandfather is actually the caretaker of one of the many "Fablehavens" for magical creatures. And she and Seth just might be in line to take over. But first they have to survive the ticked off fairies, evil crones, demons, giant cows, and selkies. Who would have thought fairy tale creatures could be so dangerous?

Fablehaven is geared toward middle grade readers and is the first in a series.

Want to buy Fablehaven? Please support your local brick and mortar stores!
Available at:
Barnes & Noble
Find an Indie bookstore near you
We're not promoting any particular store or location - we just want to encourage you to shop at your local stores and keep them in business!

Jess B and rachelyons were so excited
about their signed copies!
When our Borders was still open, we were lucky enough to get Brandon Mull in for a signing. He is absolutely one of the nicest authors we've ever met. He took his time chatting a little with each person and stayed until everyone's books got signed.
Brandon Mull is the one in the red shirt in the middle.
Moving to the right are Jess B, rachelyons, Jess P, and Rebecca T

Below are our reviews and discussions on the book. While there aren't too many spoilers, we are talking about the book as if we have read it, so if you want to avoid them you can skip down to the very end to see what we're reading for February!

Jess P - I personally loved this book. It's very good for someone who is looking for something to read after they read Harry Potter. I didn't like how annoying Seth was, and even in the book following this one, he is just as annoying. Maybe that's what makes it a little more realistic to me.

Jenn N - I really liked Lena. I found it very unique to have a character who was once immortal and is now mortal. I actually don't know any characters like this other than Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While immortals in most novels are seen as beautiful and glamorous, Lena experienced an immortal life of vanity and emptiness. She made immortality and not mortality seem like a curse. I hope to read more about her in subsequent novels especially with how her life turned out by the conclusion of this novel. I also found Seth really annoying and the perfect example of kids today. it seems most parents today don't actually parent; they never tell their kids "no" or show them that their actions have consequences. Seth's grandfather let Seth's failure to obey go unpunished and the consequences were dire. When Seth felt guilty, his grandfather told him it wasn't his fault, when it really was, and as a result, his grandfather nearly died. I don't understand how a caretaker of a large mythical village can be such a lousy grandparent.

Jess B - I loved loved loved this book! Seth was insanely annoying, but Kendra's strong will and amazing mind more than make up for it. There were some parts where it was like a train wreck - I couldn't look away, but shortly after I was drawn back in! I highly recommend this book for anyone who is having a hard time getting into reading.

Rebecca T - I really enjoyed this book. There were a number of moments where I was holding my breath or yelling at the characters - always a sign I'm really getting into it. I think that Lena was my favorite character, for many of the same reasons that Jenn N listed above. Kendra was also great. I identified with her as the cautious older sibling and loved how she had to step out of her comfort zone to save the day. Seth was a typical impulsive young boy and I did find his character believable. However, I would have liked to see a little bit of development toward the end of the book, but he keeps making the same error over and over. That's something I hope will develop over the course of the series. I loved the premise of the book and the mystical creatures were well drawn and intriguing. My favorite scene had to be the milking scene. Overall an enjoyable read with memorable characters.

For February we're reading Stolen by Lucy Christopher. The discussion post should be up on February 25th, and we'd love it if you read along and came back to tell us what you thought!

Friday, January 20, 2012

He Wrote This For You.

For the past year and a half, or so, I've all but stalked a blog titled "I Wrote This For You." The writer, who prefers to be known only by pleasefindthis, is you. He is the cumulative of every thought you've ever had. Every time I've perused the blog, I've felt as though he was my inner monologue, putting every feeling I've felt into the most perfect and precise words. Naturally, when I found out he was compiling the best posts (as well as some previously unreleased material) into a book, I had to jump on it. Now the opportunity to review it? I'd be lying if I didn't say I was practically shaking as my fingers hit the keys. 

The book is divided into four sections: Sun, Moon, Stars, and Rain. Each of these sections focuses on the four most crucial parts of our lives: love, loss, beginnings and endings. And to add to the effect of his near melodic words, are stunning photographs by Jon Ellis. Photographs full of heart, and meaning. Still life's brought to life. 

The fantastic part of each of these entries is that they're so inspired by life. Daily events. Love. Loss. Things you and I experience each and every day. Entries with beating hearts, that pump blood just the way we do. 

In particular, one entry called "The Day You Read This," moved me quite possibly more than any other piece of work I've ever indulged in. However, before I ever read it, I listened to it. It was recorded as a spoken word piece after the Japan earthquakes to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. This entry is found in the "Rain" section of the book. It's the one piece of work that I can honestly say opened my eyes to a new way of thinking, a new way of feeling and a new way of seeing. I was able to look at the world for exactly what it was, as opposed to the distorted image I'd constantly viewed it as.

Full of heart, inspiration, desire, hope, longing, regret, I Wrote This For You really is the book for anyone. It dives into your soul, and uncovers everything you've ever thought and felt. 

"That the sun will rise each day and it's up to you each day if you match it. That nothing matters up until this point. That what you decide now, in this moment, will change the future. Forever. That rain is beautiful. And so are you."  ~pleasefindthis 

If you're interested in either the blog or the book, head over to http://www.iwrotethisforyou.me, as the book is not yet available in stores. It can be ordered online, though, through Amazon. 

And a special thanks to ireadiwrite publishing for providing me with the ebook copy to review!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fairy Interesting: Little Red Riding Hood

I've always been fascinated with fairy tales. I love reading different versions of them and if you tell me that a book is based on a fairy tale I'll grab and read it in a heartbeat! So I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts looking at different retellings and versions of different tales. This month it's Little Red Riding Hood!

Everyone knows this story, right? An adorable little girl in a red hooded cape takes goodies to Grandma's house. In the woods she meets The Big Bad Wolf who tricks her into divulging her mission. He hurries off and manages to beat Red Riding to Granny's, eats the grandmother, and gets into her bed. When Red Riding arrives she is momentarily fooled by the wolf until she notices that Grandma's eyes and ears and canines have gotten abnormally large. And while glands might swell when your sick, your teeth don't normally change. So the wolf attacks the girl who, of course, screams bloody murder so a friendly neighborhood woodcutter comes to her rescue.

Pretty simple. Except, maybe you heard a version where Granny's just locked in the closet. Or maybe the one where Red Riding gets eaten too, but when the woodcutter cuts open the wolf, she and her grandmother are safe and sound inside. Or maybe the one where only Grandma gets eaten, but Red and the woodcutter are able to cut her out and then they fill the wolf's stomach with rocks and sew him back up again. Or perhaps the version where the wolf is actually a werewolf. Or maybe there wasn't a woodcutter at all; Red manages to outwit the wolf with her own sly cleverness by saying she has to pee and then sneaking off into the woods. Or maybe the one where the wolf makes Red take off all her clothes and get in bed with him before he eats her.

Yeah, you didn't see that last one coming, did you?

The story has been told for a very long time, but one of the first recorded versions is by Charles Perrault based on 17th century French tales. In his version both Red and Grandma die and it wraps up with a moral, warning that "Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say 'wolf,' but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all." SOURCE (This is a great source if you want to read some of the different variations. You can also read Perrault's version in the French if you like!)

This is the main moral attached to the story that has carried on through the years: don't talk to strangers. Because there's no better way to keep your little kids away from strangers than by telling them that their grandmother will be eaten by a wolf if they don't.

Of course, these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to retellings of the story over the years.

One of the most recent adaptations was the young adult book by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright and David Leslie Johnson, which was then adapted for the big screen.
This book returned the fairy tale to some of it's older roots with the wolf as a werewolf/shapeshifter and had some interesting twists and turns to keep you guessing.

Or maybe you have a little quirkier taste and you prefer the multiple point of view unraveling of Hoodwinked! One of my family's favorite takes on the tale.

If you are interested in the history, you might like Sandra L. Beckett's Red Riding Hood for All Ages: A Fairy-tale Icon in Cross-cultural Contexts. The English Major in me is ALL over that one!

And of course, there are about four billion picture book versions for you to choose from if you want to share one of the simpler tellings with a child in your life, or the child inside :) Such as Honestly, Red Riding Hood was Rotten!; The Story of Little Red Riding Hood as Told by the Wolf by Trisha Speed Shaskan and Gerald Guerlais.

Jackson Pearce recently released Sisters Red, another twist with werewolves and magic and the choices sisters make. Neal Schusterman's Red Rider's Hood presents Red as a teen boy who ends up joining the Wolves gang to get revenge on the death of his grandmother. Ooh! Fascinating!

And, for those of you old enough to remember the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show, I leave you with one of the Fractured Fairy Tale versions!
What's your favorite Red Riding Hood take? Any I forgot? Please share in the comments!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

Well it's a sad week for romance this week as there are no new releases in the genre today.

Instead a marriage is falling apart in "First You Try Everything," by Jane McCafferty and two brothers are fighting for the love of one mysterious and possibly deadly woman in the psychological thriller, "The Face Thief" by Eli Gottlieb.  There is also a new contemporary western, "Raylan" by Elmore Leonard coming to a ranch or bookstore near you.

Hopefully there is some true love to be found in Mary Jane Clark's latest "Wedding Cake Mystery."  The second book in that series, "The Look of Love," is released today.  Now I can't stop singing that awesome 80's song of the same name by ABC.  Admit it, you can hear it too and now it'll be stuck in you head all day. 

Also new in mystery today is Nevada Barr's latest "Anna Pigeon" novel, "The Rope." 

New releases in Sci-Fi include "Dark Victory," by Michelle Lang, the second in her "Lady Lazarus series and "Shadows in Flight," the sixth book in the popular "Ender's Shadow" series by Orson Scott Card.

Over in Young Adult, a teen is kidnapped by the fae in Alyxandra Harvey's "Stolen Away;"   a young man travels through time to try to prevent a tragedy in "Tempest," by Julie Cross and; the second book in Cynthia Hand's "Unearthly" series, "Hallowed," is released today.

New releases in Biography and Politics include: "Ike's Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment," by Stephen Ambrose; "The Real Romney," by Michael Kranish; "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History," by Chris Kyle; and "Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America," by Mark Levin.

Happy Reading and like Bob Barker, I'm going to sign off for the week with my traditional closing.  Remember to shop at your local bookstore whenever possible.  Just because our blog is online doesn't mean your shopping has to be !

Monday, January 16, 2012

I can't tell you

I am a huge sucker for IM or handwritten style books, there is something about them that lures me in. It is such a unique way to grasp a readers attention. I had found this book a few years ago during one of my trips to Borders Pre-Employment. The cover caught my eye, and I just couldn't stop myself from picking it up. I will full on admit I judge a book based on its cover. It needs to catch my eye before I even decide to pick it up. It could say "Best Book in the World! Perfect for you" But if its covered in glitter and pink bows I am so passing that book.
There I am, walking through Borders, and there it is. I Can't Tell You by Hillary Frank. I pick it up flip through its pages and I practically ran to the counter to purchase it.

The story is about a boy who gets in a fight with his best friend and is now refusing to speak. He decided to write what he wants to say to give him enough time to actually think about what he is saying. It is a beautiful concept as most relationships I find have this very problem. It even has a "crush" story within its pages that made me cheer for the main character Jake. Based in a college dorm like setting it is meant more for the Young Adult reader, but being 25 I still find it magical. There is just something so special about this book that at least 1 every 6 months I find myself reading it again. If you are looking for a fast and easy read I highly suggest this book.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Where It All Began

You wouldn't chose to work in a bookstore unless you love to read.  I always find it odd when I meet someone who doesn't like to read.  How could someone not enjoy curling up with a good book and escaping somewhere without leaving the comfort of your couch?  I've loved to read as long as I can remember but how did this love start?  Let's take a look at some of the first books we remember.  

Alan: "One of the first books I remember reading to myself was 'Are You My Mother' by P.D. Eastman. Although I had since then become an avid reader, when my dad gave me 'Tarzan of the Apes' by Edgar Rice Burroughs, when I was 10, I was forever changed. For the next several years, and through several more of the adventures of Lord Greystoke, if I wasn't in a tree with the rest of Kerchak's tribe of anthropoids, I was huddled up with a book." 
Claire:  "I remember being in love with Dr. Seuss books, I know I always had 'One Fish, Two Fish' around. I think the first books that really started my love of reading was the Little House on the Prairie series. I don't remember how how I was, I think first grade, and I remember reading a page and then my mom read a page, back and forth. I remember I got the entire set for Christmas. I loved those books!"

Eileen:  "When I was little my parents and grandparents read to me a lot. Mostly Dr Seuss and Berenstein Bears. In late kindergarten/ early first grade I got 'The Horse and His Boy' and 'Little House on the Prairie', which were my first 'big books' to read by myself. I read them over and over, and have been begging for more ever since!"
Jess P. "My parents always had my sister and I read before we went to bed. The first book I remember reading on my own was 'The Mouse and the Motorcycle' by Beverly Cleary. It was a great story for a younger reader. There were also two other books in the series so I got hooked wanting to know more about Ralph S Mouse!"
Naomi:  "Go Dog Go' by PD Eastman was the first book I remember reading on my own without any help. And then, after that, I just wanted to read everything. It didn't really take much, since I had already been exposed to the love of reading via my mother and sisters."
Rachel:  I had always enjoyed books from a young age and religiously read Dr. Seuss, Jan Brett, and Eric Carle. However, it wasn't until my dad brought home a hardcover copy of 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone' that someone had found in a garbage that I really embraced reading and discovered my passion for magic and fantasy."

Rebecca: "When I was really little, my favorite book to have read to me was 'Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss.' I started reading at a young age, so I know I read a lot of books, but the first book I really remember being affected by was 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott. I distinctly remember it being the first book that made me cry. It was the first time I realized how powerful the written word can be and the impact it can have on people."  
It seems like Dr. Suess had a big impact on most of us.  He had an impact on me too but the opposite of everyone else.  I was scared of The Cat in The Hat and wanted nothing to do with another Suess book after that!  
When I was little, my dad read to me every night.  It was normally a short story or poem from a book he had as a kid called, "The Bumper Book."  It was full of little short stories and poems like "The Owl and the Pussycat."  He also read a lot of "Golden Books" to me, my favorite was "The Poky Little Puppy."  As I got older and learned to read on my own the first chapter book I wanted was "The Baby Sitters Club: Little Sister #2, Karen's Roller Skates," by Ann M. Martin.  This series was a spin-off of "The Baby-Sitters Club."  I distinctly remember finding this book at the mall at the "Book and Record" store.  Yes, I am old enough to have shopped in a store that sold actual record albums!  I read some of it to myself and my dad read some to me.  I instantly fell in love with the little town of Stonybrook, Conneticut and went on to read all the books in the series and ultimately found my true book love with "The Baby-Sitters Club" series.  I've been constantly reading ever since.  I read a variety of books but I still re-read "The Baby-Sitters Club" books to this day.  Like a great friend, they are a great source of comfort on a bad day. 

What about you ?  Please share with us some of your early reading memories below.