Saturday, June 30, 2012

Go Fourth and Read Great Books !

Sorry to post so late but I just spent a wonderful day in nearby Goshen, NY at there annual, Great American Weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.  It is a wonderful event full of crafts, antiques, and yummy goodies.  The hot-dogs and baked good sold the Goshen United Methodist Church are simply the best I've ever had.  If you're in our neck of the woods tomorrow, stop by.  You won't be disappointed.

Now I'm back at home with a stomach full of delicious goodies and fireworks are going off at the nearby racetrack.  In the midst of all the festivity, it's important to stop and appreciate the true meaning of this holiday.  July 4th is Independence Day.  It's a day to remember the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4th, 1776 and celebrate the freedom and privilege that came with it.  I polled my fellow bloggers to see what works of literature, other than the Declaration of Independence, celebrates American Patriotism to them. 

Jennifer P. and Jessica P. both agree on the summer reading classic, "Johnny Tremain." The children's novel follows fourteen year old Tremain, a newpaper delivery boy and messenger to the Sons of Liberty in the days leading up to the American Revolution.

Meanwhile, Albert recommends "Johnny Got His Gun," by Dalton Trumbo which is the story of young American soldier's horrifying experiences in World War I.

Rachel suggested the John Steinbeck depression-era classic, "The Grapes of Wrath," and the "Felicity" stories by Valerie Tripp from the "American Girl" collection.  The series follows young Felicity Merriman as she grows up in Williamsburg, VA during the years 1774-1776.

Finally, I think anyone looking for a great historical, patriotic read should check out any one of David McCullough's works.  He won the Pulitzer Prize for "1776," is certainly a perfect read for the holiday.

Now we'd like to hear from our readers.  What book celebrates American Patriotism to you?

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

One of the highlights of Book Expo America was having the opportunity to meet Jennifer Weiner, best-selling author of hits such as "Good in Bed," "In Her Shoes," and the book I received from her at BEA, "Then Came You."  Jen gave a hilarious and motivating speech at the Blogger Con prior to BEA.  You can read the transcript of this speech on her blog.  She enthusiastically hyped her new novel, "The Next Best Thing," which will be released on Tuesday, July 3.  I was fortunate enough to be able to receive an advance copy of the novel and I read through it at a rapid pace; it was hard to put down.  "The Next Best Thing," is perhaps thee best thing Ms. Weiner has written.

"The Next Best Thing," follows Ruth Saunders, an aspiring 28 year-old writer who lives in Los Angeles with her grandmother.  Ruth's parents were killed in a car accident when she was just a little girl.  Ruth survived but suffered severe facial scars that impact her self esteem.  However, Ruth is determined to realize her childhood dream of writing and producing a sitcom as warm and funny as the ones she grew up with.  When her dreams are realized and she gets produce her show, "The Next Big Thing," she soon discovers it's not as dreamy as she thought when meddling executives, temperamental actresses, and budgets threaten her creative vision.  On top of that she is trying to cope with her grandmother's engagement and her unrequited crush on her adorable boss, Dave.

I loved this novel.  I've always wanted to be a screenwriter.  I went to college with dreams of being a writer/producer.  I've got tons of ideas and scripts that never went anywhere so it was exciting to read a story about a girl who gets to live that dream.  While Ruth's experiences prove that it isn't quite as wonderful as you'd imagine, she was so motivated that it made me motivated. I also enjoyed Ruth's grandmother's Hollywood experiences as an extra and her relationship with Maurice.  It was so refreshing to read about a 70 year-old who still lives boldly. It was also interesting to read about Ruth's (seemingly) unrequited love Dave.  His paralysis didn't get in the way of his dreams either.  While this novel is full of heart, it doesn't shy away from criticizing Hollywood's quirks.  Ms. Weiner was the co-creator and co-executive producer of the short lived ABCFamily sitcom, "State of Georgia,"  so she certainly has first-hand experience of the tribulations a showrunner would face.

I encourage everyone to read "The Next Best Thing."  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll stay up all night reading it!  You can read a sample of the novel, here, where you'll also find a list of all the places where you can pre-order it.

What's the next best thing to a sit-down interview?  An email interview, of course.  I recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. Weiner via email for a brief chat about the novel, writing, and The Bachelorette.

You said on Twitter that “not a lot” of “The Next Big Thing” was related to your “State of Georgia” experience.  Could you share a situation that was?

For an episode about the girls falling for a pair of grow-your-own-everything urban farmers, we had to cast a goat. Easy, right? Except the goats had head shots. And resumes. And reels. Eventually, I just went with the grand Hollywood tradition of hiring the skinniest one...but that was too funny not to use in the book.

I loved the relationship between Ruth and her grandmother.  Was this relationship inspired by your own life and if yes, how so?

My Nanna -- God love her, she's 95 and totally with it and I are very close. We didn't grow up living near each other, but she's very much a part of my life, and my daughters' lives, so I used a lot of her character as inspiration for Grandma Rae.

How did you research the experiences of someone who uses a wheelchair like Dave?

Priscilla Hedlin, who blogs as Wheelchair Mommy, was nice enough to read an early version of THE NEXT BEST THING and tell me what I got wrong and right.  

Ruth is a huge fan of “The Golden Girls,” and classic 80’s sitcoms.  What were some of your favorite shows as a child?

I wasn't allowed to watch TV as a kid! My parents were very strict, so it was PBS and maybe, if we were lucky, some Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. But when I was old enough to watch on my own, I loved "The Golden Girls," and the friendship among the four women, and the notion that you could build your own family -- find people you love and make a life with them.

You have a lot of advice on your website for people interested in getting their novels published.  I’m 30 and have been writing screenplays as a hobby for over a decade.  Do you have any advice for budding screenwriters? 

Not so much...I'll have to think of some, and add it to my website. I don't know that I'd recommend my path -- move to Philadelphia, write novels until someone notices them -- to other wannabe screenwriters. You kind of have to move out there to make it happen. 

Could you briefly describe your writing process from idea to finished project?

I come up with a character -- a voice in my head, an idea of who this woman is, where is and where she's going. Then I'll outline, start writing, veer wildly from outline, rewrite, and have a draft after about six months. My agent will give me notes, I'll rewrite, then give it back, then she'll give me more notes, and I'll rewrite again. Same thing happens with my editor...and then we're done, about 10 months from the start! 

You’ve written two novels about Cannie Shapiro.  Do you have any plans for new stories about characters from your other novels?

Not at the moment, but we'll have to wait and see. 

You’ve been very vocal in your criticism of The New York Times for not giving fair recognition to female writers.  What books by female writers, besides your own of course, are you most excited about lately?

I just posted a summer reading list on my blog, with lots and lots of great female authors:  

How do you find time to write, blog, tweet, promote your work, and raise a family?

LOTS of help. Seriously. Tons. I have an assistant and a sitter who both work eight-hour days, and in the summer my sister and my mom pitch in, and my daughters go to camp, so I have part of my days free for writing.  I worry sometimes that my daughters will remember me as faceless-woman-behind-computer...but I hope they'll see me as someone who found work she loves, and was able to make a living doing it. Which, of course, is what I want for them -- to find work that fulfills them, so they're happy to get out of bed and go to work, every day. 

As someone who live-tweets for the Bachelor/Bachelorette, who’d you like to see Emily up with this season?

I think she's got some good chemistry with Arie, but Jef-with-one-F cracks me up. I have a hard time seeing them together, long-term, but he's good viewing.  

If you'd like the opportunity to meet Ms. Weiner and ask her some questions of your own, head on over to her blog for details on how you can win such an opportunity.  Or, you could attend one of her signings.

Happy Reading !

Note: I received no financial compensation for this review or interview.  I just love to promote great books.  Special thanks to Jennifer Weiner for participating in my email interview and her publicist for sending me an advanced copy of "The Next Best Thing."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Extended Contest and a Book About Friends

Due to the sudden Insanity of my Life, I will be extending the contest from last week until next Thursday. If you like R.L. Stine run on over HERE and enter. (After you read this review, of course.)

Today I will be reviewing another book I picked up at BEA (one of the ones we picked up at the booth that gave us CUPCAKES) (That is not why I am reviewing this book.) (Though, I am not entirely against being bribed by cupcakes.) The book is Friends: Snake and Lizard, put out originally by Gecko Press (which is AUSTRALIAN and NEW ZEALANDAN which is AWESOME, and then put out by Lerner Publishing for us Americans and Canadians. It was written by Joy Cowley (her website is HERE) and was illustrated by Gavin Bishop (find out more about him HERE). It is the second book about Snake and Lizard. I have not read the first one yet, but I most definitely will.

Friends: Snake and Lizard was a whole lot of fun to read. It reminded me a little bit of those books like Mouse Soup, and Frog and Toad, and Owl at Home, which is the way animal stories should be told. I like very few stories with animals as the main characters. I don't know why. Especially dog stories. BUT, in this book the animals were in Australia, and they were fun to read about. It's a collection of short stories about these two friends and how they try to help the other animals around them. They are ridiculous (in a good way). They argue, and learn from each other, and are just a little bit sneaky. The illustrations are a perfect touch to the short stories. If you have a chance, definitely pick up this book!

Also: this was one of my favorite quotes in the book, which is also featured on the back of the book:

"I absolutely LOVE eggs!" Snake said. "You know that."
Lizard replied, "You mean you like eggs. We do not use the word love for food."
"I do."
"Love," said Lizard, "is a word for relationships, not for things. You can't have a relationship with your dinner."
"I can," Snake replied.

Have a FANTASTIC week, enter the CONTEST if you haven't yet, and if there are any middle grade books you want reviewed LET ME KNOW in the comments below. Check back next week for the winners and for a review on a picture book.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Dead Pull the Dead Down

Hello friends!
 It has been a while since I have posted anything, mostly because it's been a while since I've read a book that has made me want to review it. Since I finished The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, I've been having a hard time finding a book that could hook me just as easily. But alas! I have found Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill to be a gripping and intense ride (on the nightroad ;]).

This is a story about a retired famous rock star, Judas Coyne, who is obsessed with all things macabre. He is ultimately tricked into buying a ghost on the internet, and said ghost haunts Coyne and those who are close to him with a vengeance. 

Normally this type of book is not my cup of tea. I prefer wizards and magic and mythical creatures and tend to shy away from modern ghost stories or thrillers. However, once glance at the back of this book and I knew I had to read it. Why, you might ask?

Because this dude is obviously related to Stephen King! I have been an avid Stephen King reader since I was 12 years old and I had to see what Mr. Hill was made of after I found out that he is indeed Stephen's Kings son. I compared his three novels back when they were sitting on Border's book shelves, and decided to read Horns first.
Horns tells the story of Ignatius Perrish, a man who wakes up on the morning after the anniversary of his girlfriend's death with a terrible headache and a lovely set of horns protruding from his head. Iggy soon realizes that a great power accompanies the appearance of these horns, and he uses said power to solve the mystery of his girlfriend's untimely death.
I loved this book because it contained the macabre humor of King's books, but was refreshingly original and terrifying all at the same time.

This is also the reason I loved Heart-Shaped Box so much. This book made me laugh. This book made me cry. This book made me hide under the covers and leave the light on all night. It has been a long time since a book has made me check behind the shower curtain when I go into the bathroom or make sure my closet doors are firmly shut. The ghost, Craddock, is one of the most deliciously terrifying antagonists I've read in a long time. I guess it's because ghosts don't have to follow any rules and I felt Jude's helplessness while trying to find a solution to his ghost problem. This story is also filled with innumerable twist and turns. This left me in a pickle because I wanted to read it every night before I went to bed, but I knew that I would just end up paranoid with my heart beating loud enough to wake my whole house up. Therefore, I had to confine my reading to the daylit hours only, but I still devoured this book within a few days.

So if you are a Stephen King fan, a fan of thrillers, ghost stories, the occult, or if you're just looking for something new and fast-paced, this is the book for you. If you enjoy it I strongly encourage you to pick up Horns as well. Hill also has a collection of short stories called 20th Century Ghosts that I can't wait to sink my brain into.

Also, just a little tidbit for any King fans out there: King revised the ending of his latest novel, 11/22/63, after discussing it with his son first. So you know he's good.

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

Ready for Romance?  There are many new Romance novels available today.  Here are some of the highlights: "A Duchess to Remember," by Christina Brook, "Scandal Wears Satin," by Loretta Chase, "Once Burned," by Jeaniene Frost, "A Dangerous Kiss," by Francis Ray, and "A Scandelous Scott," by Karen Ranney.
March on over to Mystery and you'll find, "Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendettta," by Carole Nelson Douglass, "Death, Taxes and Extra-Hold Hairspray," by Diane Kelly, and "Blood Trust," by Eric VanLustbader.
 Slink over to the Sci-Fi/Fanstasy Section and you'll see "Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure," by Douglas Adams,  "Spell Bound," by Kelley Armstrong, "Chasing Magic," by Stacia Kane, "Sky Dragons," by Anne McCafferty, and "An Evil Guest," by Gene Wolf.

Yearning for Young Adult?  You may enjoy, "Between the Lines," Jodi Picoult's first YA novel which she co-wrote with her daughter, Samantha VanLeer, "A Midsummer's Tights Dream," by Louise Rennison, "Smart Girls Get What They Want," by Sarah Strohmeyer, or "Dust Girl," by Sara Zettel.

Flock over to fiction for "Summerland," the latest by Elin Hilderbrand and "Ocean Beach," by Wendy Wax.

Will you be tucking any of this week's new releases into your beach bag?  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.  Happy Reading!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

Everyone knows the old adage, "never judge a book by its cover."  This sentiment definitely applies to Elin Hildebrand's latest novel, "Summerland" (available tomorrow).  Upon first glance at the cover, "Summerland" looks like a frothy summer beach read full of beautiful sun rays and romance.  While it's a perfect beach read and set in the beach vacation mecca of Nantucket, "Summerland," is far from frothy.

Told through alternating voices of family, victims, and nosy locals, "Summerland," unravels the tragic mystery of what caused 17 year old Penny to crash her boyfriend's Jeep which resulted in her death and caused her brother to fall in a coma.  The other passengers in the vehicle, Penny's boyfriend Jake and her friend Demeter each have their own ideas of what caused Penny to crash the vehicle.  Meanwhile, their parents also have their own ideas, and everyone involved is hiding deep secrets that are unearthed before summer's end changing all their lives forever .

While the alternating voices are each distinct and interesting, as are the secrets they're hiding, at times there were too many alternating voices narrating on different timelines that it was little confusing as to who was doing what when.  One secret involves a hotbed political issue that I felt distracted from the novel at times.  However, overall this was an interesting read that was hard to put down.  The author does a wonderful job of describing her native Nantucket. You'll think you're a nosy tourist getting an earful of the locals drama.  You'll develop your own ideas as to what caused Penny's accident but will still be surprised and thinking about the ending for days afterward.  If you like thought-provoking drama, this is a book for you.

Note:  I received no financial compensation for this review.  I received this ARC at BEA from Little Brown & Company.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Truebie Sundays with Neubie

As much as I loved the second episode of True Blood, Season 5, last week it had little to do with the books.  However, over on, I discovered this gem of a video from Jessica Hamby's blog.  Take a few minutes to view it.

Did you watch it?  OK, good.   Ginger, the dim-witted human waitress at Fangtasia, is a minor character in Charlaine Harris' novel as as she is in the TV series.  It was nice to see a little more of her personality in this conversation with Jessica.  Also, Ginger suggests that Jessica shop at Tracey's Togs.  In Charlaine Harris' novels, Tara remains human and has been the owner-operator of the boutique Tara's Togs, over at a Bon Temp strip mall owned by Bill Compton.  So, it was nice to see a nod to this in Jessica's blog.  However, I wonder why Jessica didn't call Pam, the most fashionable vampire in all of Louisiana, if not the world! 

Last week's episode also featured another phone call opportunity.  Lafayette and Sookie were in way over the heads in dealing with the newly made vampire Tara.  It was totally true to Pam's character to abandon her progeny.  One of the reasons I love Pam so much is that there isn't a maternal bone in her body.  I can really relate to that.  Pam doesn't want to be bothered with "raising" Tara.  She did exactly what Sookie and Lafayette begged her to do, she saved Tara's life by turning her into a vampire.  So, Tara is of course out of control and running wild, destroying Gran's house while Sookie and Lafayette are clueless as to how to stop her.  They ultimately found a way to subdue her with chains and put her in the underground vampire sleeping chamber that Eric installed.  I couldn't understand why Lafayette and Sookie didn't call Jessica.  She lives across the field and would've been better equipped to talk a new vampire down as Jessica is a young vampire herself and she didn't ask to be made either.

Perhaps Jessica would've been too busy juggling the frat boys she invited over and her unexpected visitor Steve Newlin.  It became quite clear that Jessica is no longer a baby vampire as she effectively rebuffed his attempts to "buy" Jason from her and kicked him out of the house.

Meanwhile Jason was trying to make amends with Hoyt who recently moved back home with his overbearing mother.  I cracked up as Mrs. Fortenberry screamed at for hurting her boy while he was in earshot but then whispered to Jason how happy she was that he had broken up Hoyt and the red-haired "slut."  As I've mentioned before, Jessica isn't in the books and Hoyt eventually marries a scchool-teacher.  Jason remains loyal to his childhood pal throughout the books, they're more like brothers.

Elsewhere in Renard Parish, Sam and his shifter girlfriend got into a huge fight over how to deal with her meddling mother in law wanting to spend more time with her granddaughter.  Sam leaves in a huff and Luna still has way more to deal with than she bargained for her when she discovers that her daughter has shifted for the first time.  Whether she is a werewolf or a shifter remains to be seen but she was awfully cute in puppy form wearing PJs.  I don't think Luna found it that cute though, lol.

Sookie will soon have more to worry that renegade vampire Tara as the Pelt's are looking for their lost daughter, Debbie.  Jason and Andy discovered Debbie's abandoned car.  What Jason do if he discovers that his own sister is the one who killed Debbie?  In the books, very few people knew what Sookie did to Debbie and she never faced any legal consequences.  Being that there wouldn't be much of a show with Ms. Stackhouse in lock-up, I'm sure the show will follow a similar pattern.

Still I don't think any character is in as much trouble as Eric and Bill.  The former enemies have formed an uneasy alliance in dealing with their interrogation by the Authority.  The Authority, led by Roman, insists on vampires learning to live peacefully alongside humans by mainstreaming.  However the Authority's tactics are anything but peaceful.  They subjected Eric and Bill to infusions of silver, which is extremely painful to vampires, in an attempt to solicit information about what happened to Nan Flannagan and whether Bill and Eric are involved in the currently mysterious, "Sanguinista" movement.  Eric and Bill ultimately appeared before the Authority's board and learn that the majority of them have voted that they meet the "true death" for acts of treason.  Bill, was able to effectively save their fangs by offering to bring the recently un-earthered and lethal vampire Russell Edgington to them.  It will be very interesting to see Eric and Bill work together to find Russell.

One thing that disturbed me about the Authority's board is that there was a vampire child on the panel.  In the novels, a vampire child is a huge scandal.  In the novels, Eric's maker isn't Godric, it's
Appius Livius Ocella and he made a vampire child, Alexi Romanov.  Appius used his influence as maker to engage in sexual relations with Alexi. Yep, Eric's major is a creepy pedo.  Alexi is spoiled, impulsive and has crazy bloodlust.  It will interesting to see if this child member of the Authority will be modeled after Alexi.

What do you guys think?  How are you enjoying this season?  Is there anything you'd like to see?

Meet me in a booth at Merlotte's and we'll talk !  Until next week, Neubie the Truebie.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

E-Books or Print Books?

No doubt about it, e-books and e-readers are here to stay.  I resisted the transition for a long time.  I worried, and still worry, that traditional print books will soon end up on the Land of Misfit Toys with cassettes and CDs after song downloads hit the record industry like a ton of bricks.  While I own a reader, I prefer and typically buy traditional books.  Nothing beats the smell of fresh print, the feel of paper and the heft of a great read in your hand.  I use my e-reader primarily for short stories that are either free to download or are at a really low price.  For example, I discovered "Evermore" by Alyson Noel for just $2.99 once.  I read through it at a rapid pace and went on to purchase the rest of the series but in physical book form.  When a new book comes out that I'm excited for is released, I rush to the bookstore, not to the PC to download.  So perhaps there is room for both formats to survive and exist peacefully.  Although sometimes the battle over e-books versus traditional books seems more heated than the Ewings' battle for the Southfork.  I polled the BWOBNY crew to see what format(s) they preferred.

Print, because I don't have an e-reader, or a tape/cd player in my car.

Eileen: Definitely print. I like my Kobo but it's mostly used when I'm traveling. Even then I miss the character of "real" books, the smell and weight and the cover art.

Jennifer C: While I love print books and have hundreds of them, I use my kindle equally as much, because there are many authors that I read that only put out e-books.

Jess B:  Print. The smell of the books themselves has given me the feeling of home as far back as I can remember. Just walking into a book store almost brings me to my knees.

Jess P: Print because someone stepped on my

 KC:  I love reading on my Kindle. I didn't want to, but I do. Pretty much all of my book reading is now on my Kindle because I don't have to worry about deciding which to take with me, I just take them all. And all of my graphic novels are on my iPad now. And I was able to get most of my grad school texts in e format so I only have to carry one device instead of a stack of books. I know . . . I fought wanting to like e-reading . . . and then someone gave me a Kindle for my birthday a couple of years ago and it's been a very quick transition to an all e-book library. I never have eyestrain with it and I have Calibre on my computer to make sure I don't lose anything if my devices crap out. *Sigh* I have been assimilated.

Rachel: Print. I've been trying to use e-readers more to be able to sell them in the store. But when the device dies or my eyes hurt from the glare or the page won't turn, I'm reminded why books are far superior.

Rebecca T: I mainly read print books, because that's what I have the most of. But now that I have my Nook I'm doing a lot more ebook reading than I used to. I love both mediums!    

What do you guys think?  Do you prefer e-books? Traditional books? Both?  Share with us ! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

What I miss (and some things I don't) about working in a bookstore

It's hard to believe that June is almost over.  The kids are out of school, and instead of enjoying the great outdoors they are raiding the malls and retail establishments everywhere.  This is the first summer in 8 years I don't have to deal with summer reading lists or displays and it made me think about what I truly miss about the environment I chose to work in up until our demise.

  • One of the main things is sharing my love of reading with customers, especially children.  It meant so much to me when I could get a young child excited for reading a new book.  
  • Seeing the new books as they came into the store.  I thoroughly enjoy our Laydown Lowdown weekly blog because it almost makes me feel like I'm still involved with the laydowns.  

  • Some of the play lists we would play and my staff's reaction to them.  Nothing beats the day I caught Rachel dancing in the aisle to I don't remember what!
  • The appreciation customers would give when they had a difficult item to find and we did it with ease.  Nothing beats the thankful customer when I sat in the kids room with her as we picked out a book on growing up for her little girl
  • The peaceful environment of the bookstore.  I don't think we have ever had anyone threaten 
  • Finally I miss my book family.  It sounds corny but by the end we truly were family.  Since I live about 40 minutes away from everyone I really don't get a chance to see my former staff especially since I have a little one.
Some funny things I don't miss...

  • The customers that constantly let their children run around like crazy wild animals.  It's like a disease!  I was in Target the other day and this family was playing tag in the mens department. AND THE PARENTS WERE CONDONING IT!!!!  
  • lazy students.  You know the ones who wait until the last minute to do their school work and then wonder why 1) you don't have the book in stock or 2) which is the shortest book.
  • People who want something for nothing.  You know who I mean, the people who even though the fine print on the coupons say 1 coupon per person per promo, still come up with 3 coupons and 3 items.
I could go on and on, but I won't.

If you have memories of a bookstore that closed around you what do you miss the most?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

RL Stine: Review and Book Give Away!

Hello, Down Unders! (And those not-as-under). Later I will be giving away two books by RL Stine, but first! The review!

I did not grow up reading RL Stine. I kind of skipped over a lot of middlge grade, which is one of the reasons why I love reading them now that I'm a little bit older. So last year I read one, and wasn't too excited. I had been able to guess the ending and I was a little bit bored.

Then I went to BEA and picked up two books by RL Stine to giveaway on the blog, so, of course, I had to read them first. The first one I read was ZombieTown, which was part of a series he wrote back in like, the fifties, but they are now being re-issued by AmazonPublishing. It was short, fun, and easy to get through. After reading this one and keeping in mind the first book I read of his, it reminded me a little bit of a bag of surprise flavor candy. They're enjoyable, they're quick, and they're just enough of the creepy.

The second book was the Wanted: The Haunted Mask book. I enjoyed this one the best. The book is divided into three sections, the first about an old man, the second about a young girl who gets stuck inside a mask that takes over her personality (terrifying to think about), and the third is about a young boy living out in a pumpkin farm. I loved how everything was twined together, and how the three stories came together in the end. I liked the characters. I especially liked the pumpkin one. It reminded me of JT Petty's book, The Squampkin Patch, which I'll be reviewing at a later date. The book was a lot of fun.

For kids looking for a bit of a scare and a good thrill, I most definitely recommend RL Stine. PLUS he has like a bazillion of them, so if you like him you have a lot to choose from and you don't have to worry as much about being sad when they're all over.

NOW for the giveaway details. I will be giving away both of these books. There will be two winners. The first will win the ZombieTown book, and the second drawn will win the Wanted: The Haunted Mask one. To enter fill out the form from Rafflecopter AND in the comments share something bizarre that you were scared of when you were little. Or. Not so little. Especially the weird ones (if you feel so inclined). OR, if you weren't scared of anything bizarre when you were little, leave a comment of something EXTREMELY WEIRD that you are glad you were never afraid of.

This is for fun and a judge-free zone. To prove to you that I don't care how bizarre your fears are I will share with you something I am STILL afraid of TO THIS DAY. Ahem. Ready? I am afraid of mustaches flying off of men's faces and attacking me. For reals. I am not making this up. I still am. I blame it all on Robin WIlliams. When I saw his face I just knew his mustache was going to jump off and attack me and I have been terrified of bushy mustaches ever since. IT IS HORRIBLE.

TERRIFYING. Apparently they have mustache CONTESTS. *faints*
I found this terrifying picture HERE where there are mustaches ready to kill people EVERYWHERE.

The contest will be open starting now until Wednesday at midnight. Feel free to tell your friends!

THIS CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED AN EXTRA WEEK! Yay! *throws sparkles* It will now end at midnight on July 4th.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I've been thinking about my next Fairy Interesting post (maybe Beauty and the Beast or Little Mermaid next!) but when I learned that June is Audiobook Month I knew I had to share some of my favorites with you all!

I've commuted to school for six years (first undergrad and then grad school) so I've had lots of time to enjoy a variety of books. 
One of my all time favorite audiobooks is Fairest by Gail Carson Levine and narrated by Sarah Naughton. This is a retelling of Snow White that twists and turns and is an amazing book. But when narrated by Naughton it becomes even more marvelous. The kingdom in which the story is set is famous for its singing and Aza is known for her inventive song skills and every song is actually sung by Naughton. This combined with the different voices she uses makes for an unforgettable listening experience.

A more recent favorite is Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles series. These books were coming out while I was in the middle of grad school and I didn't have time to read them. Fortunately my local library stocked the audiobooks and I snatched them up. The books alternate between Sadie and Carter as they tell the story and the books were simply made to be heard (literally, since the preface treats it as though the two Kanes are actually narrating their story into a recorder). Katherine Kellgren and Kevin Free take the parts and make them live in an amazing way. Having listened to the first two I can't bring myself to pick up and read the third - at least not until after I've heard the audiobook!

If you're tastes fall away from fantasy books you should try The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall. Not only are these books engaging, sweet, and entertaining but Susan Denaker makes each of the four sisters so unique that you feel like you know them and wish you were one of them.

Heading away from middle grade books, the young adult title Chime by Frannie Billingsley caught my attention. The story line is fascinating and a perfect blend of historical fiction and fantasy. Susan Duerden gives the right touch to Briony and her sister Rose, pulling you into their heartaches and troubles and making you root for the right outcome.

If you like things a little darker, try out Rotters by Daniel Kraus. This is a story about teenaged Joey Crouch who gets sent to live with the father he never knew after the death of his mother. However, what he doesn't know is that his father is part of a long tradition of grave robbers. Narrated by Kirby Heyborne this audiobook will give you the creeps - but in a good way. And there are a couple of places where I would definitely advise not listening to it while eating. Kraus holds no punches and Heyborne puts you right into the middle of the action.

Moving on to the regular fiction section - Having heard so much about the book (and movie) The Help by Kathryn Stockett I decided to see what all the commotion was about. And, of course, not having time to read it, I requested the audiobook from my library. With four different narrators the story is brilliantly told and I enjoyed the book even more because of it.

Another multi-narrator production is one of my favorite books, which was our book club choice for April - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I had read the book before, but when I stumbled across this on the library shelves I knew I needed to listen to it as well. I already loved the way Shaffer and Barrows developed so many characters so fully only through letters, but hearing those characters brought to life by a cast of narrators made it even more engaging.

So there you have it - some of my all time favorite audiobooks! Do you have a favorite narrator or audiobook? Have you ever listened to an audiobook? If not, why? We're always curious to learn more about our readers!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

You Ask, what's new in YA?  You'll notice, the latest from Courtney Summers, "This is Not a Test," Something Like Normal," by Trish Doller, and "Blood Moon," by Alyxandra Harvey. 

Race over to Romance and find "A Place in the Country," by Elizabeth Adler, "Lothaire," by Kresley Cole (new in paperback), "Redemption," by Susannah Sandlin, and "Circle of Danger," by Carla Swafford.

Merge toward Mystery and you'll see the latest Janet Evanovich caper, "Wicked Business," along with "Bonefire of the Vanities," the 12th "Sarah Booth," novel by Carolyn Haines, and the 4th "Kate Burkholder" novel by Linda Castillo, "Gone Missing."

 Storm on over to Sci-Fi for Terry Pratchett's newest novel, "The Long Earth."  "Existence," by David Brin, "The Devil Delivered and Other Tales," by Steven Erikson,  and "A Kingdom Divided: Empire of the Moghul," by Alex Rutherford are also available today.

Finally, fly through the Fiction section and you'll spot "What Women Want" by Fanny Blake, "A Hologram for the King," by Dave Eggers, and "Monarch Beach," by Anita Hughes

Will any of today's new releases make it into your "to-read" pile?  Happy Reading and remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Truebie Sundays with Neubie

Well how did everyone like the Season 5 premiere of "True Blood?"  This season seems to be shaping up to be vastly different from "Dead as a Doornail," but I think the changes are still true to character.  What do you think?  Let's breakdown the characters storylines and discuss.  If you haven't seen the premiere, this piece is full of spoilers.  So, be warned.  Also, if you haven't seen it, what the heck are you waiting for?!   I've posted the official HBO recap here but read on for more !

Our girl Sookie seems to have a lot to deal with this season.   In the only plot point carried over from the novels (so far this season), Sookie is dealing with the aftermath and cover-up of her killing Debbie Pelt.  Lafayette told Sookie she should've just called the cops as Sookie killed Debbie in self-defense but Sookie argued that wasn't entirely true.  She said she had a moment to contemplate whether or not to pull the trigger and that she wanted Debbie gone and thus, the shooting wasn't done entirely in self defense.  However, one could argue that getting rid of Debbie once and for all was the only way to prevent her from ever returning.  Who knows if Debbie would've been found guilty of attempted murder or any of her other misdeeds.  She may have remained a crazed, homicidal drug V-addict and come back to do more damage.

Speaking of Debbie's damage, Tara jumped in the line of fire to spare Sookie's life while risking her own. Tara sustained what appeared to be a fatal headshot wound. In the novels, Tara and Sookie are still child hood friends but do not have the close relationship that has been seen on the show.  Sookie's closest girlfriend in the books is Pam and even that relationship is awkward.  In "Dead as a Doornail," Tara has emerged from her abusive relationship with Franklin Mott only to find herself trapped in an even more dangerous and abusive relationship with another vampire, Mickey.  As such Tara just like in the show, hates vampires with every fiber of her being.  Sookie knows this in both the novel and show universe.  Lafayette was killed back in "Living Dead in Dallas."  However, he is certainly aware of his cousin's aversion to vampires in the show universe.  So, it was quite surprising to me as I'm sure it was to all that Lafayette and Sookie requested Pam to turn Tara into a vampire.  Surely, Tara would've preferred to die saving her best friends life rather than live forever as the thing she despises most.  It will be very interesting to see how this plays out this season.

Also Pam who stated she doesn't even like Tara but transformed her out of Sookie's promise that she'll "owe her one."  I think we can all agree that you don't ever want to owe a vampire anything.  That's worse than owing a loan shark!  Pam will certainly collect on this debt and I bet it will be costly.  Further, Pam will now be stuck being Tara's maker for all eternity.  I find Tara to be quite annoying.  She constantly made foolish decisions such as trusting the maenad, and leaving New Orleans (and her beautiful girlfriend) only to fall into Marnie's trap last season.  I certainly would not want to be responsible for her for all eternity.

Meanwhile, the other new vampire on the scene, Steve Newlin confessed his love for Jason.  However Jason, "doesn't bark that way..."  In the novels, Steve and his wife Sarah are missing, and on the run for a long time after their sect of the Fellowship of the Sun was compromised after the events of "Living Dead in Dallas."  So it is not entirely unlikely that he became a vampire.  I wonder what happened to Sarah though? 

The premiere also introduced to another vampire, Nora.  Nora is another character unique to the show.  She is Eric's sister and I know some viewers were a little creeped out that the one of the first things that Eric and Nora did to celebrate their reunion was to have wild sex.  I wasn't creeped out because in this vampire lore, that is common and accepted behavior.  While they call each other brother and sister, it is entirely different from a human brother-sister relationship.  Unless you're the kids from "Flowers in the Attic," lol.  I only felt bad for Bill who was stuck listening outside. 

Oblivious to her maker's drama, Jessica continued to enjoy the single life after breaking Hoyt and Jason's hearts took advantage of having Bill's house to herself.  She partied hard with some clueless frat boys. Of all the characters unique to the TV series, I think Jessica is my favorite.

At the conclusion of the premiere, Eric, Nora and Bill, were surrounded by the new Vampire Authority.  Tonight we should get our first glimpse of Christopher Meloni, as the Authority's leader Roman and General Hospital's Carolyn Hennessey as an Authority member.
Over on the were/shifter front, Sam took the fall for killing Marcus but Alcide ultimately came forward and admitted he killed Marcus.  Whether or not he will be pack master remains to be seen.  "Dead as Doornail" involves Alcide's father's campaign for the pack master position.  The scene where the weres ate Marcus' body grossed me out more than anything.  It also supported my disgust at weres in general.  No matter how much of a gentleman Alcide may be, I can never support an Alcide and Sookie pairing.  Ugh.

Another plot point not in the novels is the mysterious relationship between Terry and his war buddy.  In the novels, the only friends Terry has are his prized Catahoula hunting dogs.  I have no idea where this storyline is leading but it looks to be interesting.  While I could've lived my whole life without seeing Andy Bellefluer naked, I am enjoying the pairing of Holly and Andy.  However, in the bookverse, Holly is ultimately paired up with Hoyt.  Wouldn't it be interesting if, on the show, Holly cheats on Andy with Hoyt and then Hoyt would be a "girlfriend f*cker," just like he accused his former best pal Jason of being?

Phew, the premiere covered a lot of ground and I think, I covered everything here.  What do you guys think of the show and the books?  Please share your thoughts with me!  You can comment below, send a tweet to @borderlessbooks or email me at, please include "True Blood," in the subject line.  Your comments may appear in a future post! Happy Viewing and Happy Reading !

Also, if you haven't seen Jessica Hamby's blog, enjoys this video and shoot on over.

Save me a seat at Fangtasia, Neubie the Truebie !

Saturday, June 16, 2012

That's the Best Book I've Heard All Day

June is Audiobooks month.  To commemorate, we thought we'd share some of our favorite audiobooks with you.

I actually haven't listened to that many audiobooks.  However, I do remember one wonderful day when I discovered audiobook versions of Sweet Valley High books 2 and 3, "Secrets," and "playing with Fire."  I ran home and put them in my cassette player.  This audio version didn't feature any voice actors, instead they were narrated by a man who sounded distinctly like John Ingle who plays billionaire patriarch Edward Quartermaine on "General Hopsital."  It was oddly comforting to hear teen books read by someone who sounds so much like your beloved, cantankerous TV grandfather.  I tried to research these tapes to find out if John Ingle did the narration but unfortunately my search merited little results.

Meanwhile, Jess B, loved listening to "Trace," by Patricia Cornwell. "This book was amazing by itself," she says,  "...Carolyn McCormick who voices it just makes it.  Being a Mystery it is filled with ups and down...she just makes the story come alive!"

Jess P can't get enough of Jim Dale's work on the audio versions of the Harry Potter novels, "[he] is phenominal! Different voices for each character...I'm impressed he got them all straight!"

True to form Naomi has a great story that is best told in her own words, "Audio books are super difficult for me to listen to because I am not an auditory learner at all and can't focus without concrete things in my hand (not concrete as in concrete, but like, physical objects), but one day I was sick and Rebecca had the audio book for 'Ella Enchanted' by Gail Carson Levine. It was the first time I had even heard of the author. The girl who narrated it also did the voice for the young Miriam in The 'Prince of Egypt' (I'm pretty sure). I loved how she did all of the voices and it was just wonderful."

Meanwhile, Rebecca is a huge fan of audiobooks, they helped her commute fly by she had a hard time selecting a favorite.  However, "if I had to choose a favorite I would go with the' Series of Unfortunate Events.' Most of them are narrated by Tim Curry and he does all of the different voices and makes it absolutely hilarious. And the books he doesn't narrate are done by Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket himself. I love hearing the author read because you know you're getting exactly what they intended in all of the inflections."

So, what is the best book you've heard ?  Share with us, we're all ears !

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Down Unders: Linda Urban, Hound Dog True

Photo Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pub. Comp.
Hello there! As promised here is my review on Linda Urban's Hound Dog True. It was also a BEA freeby I got last year. I got to meet Linda Urban (website for her here), which was exciting. This book was put out by Harcourt Children's Books. I like the cover for this book. The font is fun, and the background image ties in nicely with the story. Even if I was dense and it took me until today to realize how it connects. Unfortunately my ARC copy doesn't have information about who did the image art. Sad face.

The book is about Mattie, incredibly shy, who keeps moving around with her mum. She never feels like she fits in. It starts out the week before she starts at another new school. Her Uncle (Uncle Potluck - not only do I absolutely love his name, I love him as a character. He felt like someone I could walk up to and instantly be friends with) works as a janitor at her new school and she decides that she is going to be his apprentice. And then she can work with him. And she can spend time with him instead of having to go to lunch. And she won't have to be alone. And she won't have to spend time with people she won't be able to talk with who will only think she's stupid anyway.

Mattie meets her across-the-street neighbor Quincy, but doens't want to talk to her. She just wants to be alone and write about how o be a janitor. She used to write stories - but stopped after an incident with a girl from her past: Star. Through this book she is able to be okay with who she is. She is able to communicate with her mum and gain a better relationship with her. She is able to grow away from her past experiences and is able to write stories again. She is able to find a friend.

This book is absolutely beautiful. Beautifully written with a touching story and adorable characters. I've talked with some people who've said they want to read more middle grade but don't know where to start. I would suggest: start here. This story is not just for the Down Unders, but can be enjoyed by adults too. It's one of those quiet, coming-of-age stories that isn't played out in a fantasy world. There aren't giants and monsters. There's just real life. Which. Sometimes I prefer the fantasy with the monsters. Real life can be a heck of a lot scarier.

Read, read, read this story. I highly recommend it. I will definitely be looking around for A Crooked Kind of Perfect (also by Linda Urban), because I respect this author's storytelling so much.

You can buy her book at:
An Indie Bookstore near you!


Check back next week for a review on two R.L. Stine books. Plus.... *wiggles eyebrows* Maybe even a give away.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Does a Toilet Tank Work?

Have you ever wanted to know how things work? Like a zipper, or a dentist's drill? Or maybe a submarine. I found that David Macaulay's book, The New Way Things Work, was a useful tool in learning about all kinds of machines and how they work.  I found this book helpful, especially with my boys, as it made the study of Science interesting and unique. 

Macaulay uses a wooly mammoth to tell the story of machines and how they are used in everyday life as he illustrates the various scientific principles with a humorous twist. He speaks of using levers to weigh a mammoth, and a wheel and axle to groom it. In part 5 , he explains "The Digital Domain" in a manner that makes it easy to understand, although mammoth gets upset. But then, you will have to read the book to find out why.

I like how the author uses an informal tone, inviting the reader in to explore and investigate how things work. The illustrations give a clear picture which enhances the information and explanations. The information is divided into short segments to keep a young reader's attention, yet is informative enough to satisfy an older student. If you or your children have a desire to know about the inner workings of machines, then this is the book for you. Pick one up at your local bookstore.

From the flyleaf, "The New Way Things Work has been conceived for readers of all ages....David Macaulay's beguiling treatment of the subject offers access to knowledge in the most captivating manner, and at the same moment makes the discovery seem like fun."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Laydown Lowdown

Young Adult fans have a lot to cheer about this week.  There are two big releases this week.  "Rapture," the conclusion to Lauren Kate's epic "Fallen" series falls in stores today.  Readers will finally discover if Daniel and Luce find their happily ever after.  Meanwhile, the danger continues for Sydney and her friends in "The Golden Lily," the latest in Richele Mead's "Bloodlines" series.  "Timepiece," by Myra McEntire and "For the Darkness Shows the Stars," is also available today.

Moving over to mystery, best-selling author Jeffery Deaver's latest "Kathryn Dance," novel, "XO" is available today.  "Cop to Corpse," by Peter Lovesey and "Niceville," by Carsten Stroud debut today too.

Sashay over to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section and you'll find the second installment in Melissa de la Cruz' Beauchamp/Witches of East End series, "Serpent's Kiss."  I've been waiting for this second installment of this witchy Hamptons family since the first one came out last summer !  "Times Last Gift," by Phillip Jose Farmer  and "The Taken," by Vicki Pettersson also land on shelves today.

Roam over to Romance and you'll see the latest Lisa Jackson, romantic suspense novel, "Afraid to Die."  Joanna Lindsey's latest "Let Love Find You," also graces shelves today.

Finally, literary fiction lovers may enjoy, "The Third Gate," by Lincoln Child, "Mission to Paris," by Alan Furst or "Last Kind Words," by Tom Piccirilli which are released today.

Are any of today's new release on your "to-read" list?  "Rapture," and "Serpent's Kiss" are on mine.  Happy Reading.  Please remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Truebie Sundays with Neubie

It's finally here !! Season 5 of "True Blood" premieres tonight on HBO.  Over on there website you'll find Season 4 recaps, promos for Season 5 and more.  Right here however, I want to chat about the books vs. the show.  Past precedent has proven that the show's creator and producer, Alan Ball, has taken a main plot point/story arc from each sequential novel and spun it his own way to include new characters, ideas, and plot twists in a wonderful way that ads surprises for the faithful readers without alienating them.  If you haven't seen Season 4 and don't want any spoilers, nor do wish to read my speculation of Season 5 don't read any further.  You've been warned.

Last season, was loosely based on the fourth novel of Charlaine Harris' "Southern Vampire" series, "Dead to the World."  In this installment, vampire Sheriff Eric looses his memory after being cursed by a coven of vengeful witches.  This novel also marks the first time Eric and Sookie hook up although he won't remember their hookup for books to come.  The show, "True Blood," covered this major plot point but really amped up the witches coven and gave their leader, Marnie a more detailed back story than in the books.

Also unique to the show, was Bill's promotion to King of the Louisianna territory.  In the books as in the show, Bill and Sookie broke up after he was called to be with his maker, Lorena, and she came to his rescue.  Personally, this bothers me as he didn't cheat on her with Lorena, a vampire can not deny their maker anything.  He had no free will in this decision.  Anyway, after their break-up Bill becomes a minor character in the novels.  However, I loved the way Bill's promotion was explained on the show.  It stayed so true to what I know of his character.  Bill would love nothing more than to be human.  Of course, he really would've loved to die a human alongside his wife decades ago after years of being a happy family.  However, he surely would accept mainstreaming as a vampire in the human world as the best outcome after being made.

The most startling difference of the show versus the novels was Sookie's trip to the land of the Fae.  As of the 12th novel in the series, Sookie has never ventured to the land of the Fae.  I appreciated how violent the fairies were depicted though.  I never really cared for Claudine in the books or any of the fairies for that matter.  They were always described as being so beautiful and wonderful that I couldn't help but wonder what they were hiding.  Quite a lot it seems if you've read the 12th book.  In the novels, Claudine isn't killed by Eric.  She lives much longer.  As much as I dislike the fae, I disliked her early death more. 

Claudine is actually a triplet and her brother Claude becomes a central character novel in the series and from what I've read in Entertainment Weekly and other media magazines, Claude will be represented on the show this season.  Other new characters will also be introduced such as a love interest for Pam.  I'm very excited to see this as in the books, Pam is described as being bisexual whereas on the show, most viewers I've talked to think Pam is a lesbian.  I'm wondering who will be fashionable enough and sassy enough to be with Pam, my number one girl crush.  Another character that I'm really looking forward to meeting on the show is Roland, as played by Christopher Meloni.  Meloni is one of my favorite actors.  He can completely transform himself from one role to the next.  It will be quite interesting to see how he shed his Eliot Stabler-Law & Order persona for that of this fierce vampire who is said to be the new leader of the vampire authority.

The fifth novel, "Dead as Doornail," doesn't seem to incorporate any of the plot of elements that I've read will part of the fifth season.  "Dead as Doornail," finds Sookie trying to find the person(s) responsible for hunting shifters which includes Sam and the Hotshot werepanther community.  In the books, Jason has become a werepanther and thus Sookie is determined to protect him.  Meanwhile Alcide uses Sookie to try and help his father's bid for pack master.  When we last saw Alcide on the show, he had killed the current pack master.  So, it will be interesting to see who takes over.  Following what little I know of werewolf lore, this would elevate Alcide to packmaster but we'll see.  I am sure there are many surprises in store for us Truebies tonight !  I can't wait.  I'm sure we'll have plenty to discuss right here, next week.   And please, share your thoughts with us below.  I don't bite......much :)

See you in Bon Temps, Neubie the Truebie


Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Superlative BEA Experience

Rebecca T, Jenn N, Naomi Ruth
with our best friend Mr. Javits :)
Jenn N, Rebecca T, and NaomiRuth had such a blast at BEA this week! We met a lot of people, stood in a lot of lines, and snagged some great books (and stay tuned because we'll be sharing some of those with all of you guys!). We wanted to share some of our favorite moments so we decided to do the

Hold onto your hats cause here we go! And check out the end of the post for some pics we managed to snag with authors! (and pardon all the exclamation points! We were are a bit excited about everything :) (and the links will take you to the author/publisher's blog/website)

Author Categories
Best Dressed:
Emily White (nominated by NaomiRuth) [She had the sparkliest butterfly hairclip and her earrings were feathery :D]
Tim Gunn (nominated by Jenn N) Would you expect anything less from the Project Runway mentor? He wore a beautiful tailored suit and the coolest caramel colored shoes.  They looked like alligator but I couldn't tell for sure.
Peter Brown (nominated by Rebecca T) This is mainly because of his hat. It was fantastic (and looked good on him too :)

Most Energetic:
Mac Barnett (nominated by NaomiRuth) [he was absolutely hilarious]
Mike Mullin (nominated by Jenn N) He was signing copies of his novel Ashen Winter. In order to get an autographed book, he made you punch a yellow breakaway board and "earn it."
Obert Skye (nominated by Rebecca T) He is so friendly and outgoing and meeting him 2 years ago made me a fan without ever having read a word of his books. This year was the same. He sincerely seems to enjoy meeting everybody.

Most Anticipated:
R.L. Stine (nominated by Jenn N) I'd been dying to meet him since I first read the "Fear Street" series.
Shannon Hale (nominated by Rebecca T) I have loved her books forever and Rachelyons just started reading them, which reminded me how much I adore her style!
Shannon Messenger (nominated by Naomi T) [Because I knew her, or felt like I did, because of bloggy stuff, and I was so excited for her and it was so coooool]

Nicest Surprise:
Michael Buckley (nominated by Rebecca T and NaomiRuth) [He wasn't on the list and we found him anyway because we love him that much. You can't hide Buckley from us!] We thought he was signing a book for a new series, but then they handed out the newest Sisters Grimm and NaomiRuth and I literally jumped up and down squealing in the middle of the booth.
Tim Gunn - (nominated by Jenn N)  I expected him to be nice but he was so friendly and talkative, he made you feel more like a friend than mere fan.

Publisher Categories
Most Organized:
Penguin (nominated by NaomiRuth) [Their lines were organized, their booth was easy to navigate, and their people knew what they were doing. It was wonderful.]
HarperCollins (nominated by Rebecca T) When they did their Harper Teen signing they managed the line very well and the people kept everything organized and moving smoothly. It was pretty impressive.

Friendliest Staff:
Shadow Mountain (nominated by NaomiRuth) [Shadow Mountain has always been super nice and easy to talk to and I would totes work for them if I could finagle my way in. *plots* *evil grin*]
Lerner Publishing Group (nominated by Rebecca T) We went to one of their signings and the line was rather long and a bit awkward to manage, but they kept everyone in place and even moved the entire line to a new location very nicely. They were very pleasant and when we stopped by their booth at the end of the day on Thursday when no one else was around they offered us cupcakes which were amazingly delicious!
Ellora's Cave (nominated by Jenn N) They had great swag and funny, sexy men.

Best Selection of Giveaways:
Disney-Hyperion (nominated by NaomiRuth) [We passed by them numerous times and got some really good giveaways, books, posters, pins, etc.]
Hachette/Little Brown (nominated by Jenn N) Their YA imprint Poppy does many of my favorite reads.
Penguin (nominated by Rebecca T) They had a schedule for their galley giveaways and gave away a nice sampling of different titles over the course of the three days.

Best Tote Bag:
The Hobbit! (nominated by Rebecca T) The original cover on a green sturdy bag. Enough said!
I loved this button and immediately
pinned it on my lanyard.
I go so many comments on it!
Quirk Books with the adorable stack of books tote (nominated by NaomiRuth)

Miscellany Categories
Most Frequent Question:
What is this line for? (nominated by all 3 of us) The consensus seemed to be - if a line is long it must be for something really good. Or, people were just trying to figure out where the end was so they could join it!
Where did you get that button!? (nominated by Rebecca T)

Longest Line for a Signing:
Tim Gunn (nominated by Jenn N) He was well worth the wait!
Harper Teen - including Veronica Roth, Aprilynne Pike, Elizabeth Norris, and Bethany Griffin (nominated by NaomiRuth) [But the wait wasn't bad - we met some super cool people]
Lemony Snicket (nominated by Rebecca T) It was so long I didn't even wait in it. It crushed me to walk away since I'm rather obsessed with his books, but there were too many other authors at that time!

Strangest Encounter:
Another blogger introduced herself and her plush cat to me.  She told me her plush cat was some kind of demon who had more twitter followers than she did.  (nominated by Jenn N)

While standing in line for Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit I commented to the woman in front of me in line that I was glad I wasn't the only one who was absurdly organized with spreadsheets and the like. We laughed about it and the way we had backups just in case we lost our hard copies. She noted my name badge and said she had just been on our blog and was the publicist that had recently e-mailed us about taking part in a blog tour! What a crazy, fun coincidence! It was so great to meet her in person! (nominated by Rebecca T)

Book We're Most Excited to Read:
Masque of the Red Death, by Bethany Griffin (nominated by NaomiRuth) [I would've picked In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz, but I'm already half-way through it so, I'll pick the other one because the cover is so pretty! And it looks good! And the author was so nice! Exclamation point!]
Ted Dekker's new book Forbidden (nominated by Rebecca T) NaomiRuth pointed this one out to me and I gasped and clasped it close! I can't wait to read it!
The Diviners by Libba Bray (nominated by Jenn N) I love the craziness of the prohibition era when this novel takes place and the supernatural undercurrent of this novel sounds really fun and different. 

NaomiRuth and Jackson Pearce
Rebecca T and Jackson Pearce
(had to get it from the front of the table
to keep the line moving. This is not a particularly
flattering angle for me but LOOK! AN AUTHOR!
Rebecca T and Maggie Stiefvater
NaomiRuth and Maggie Stiefvater
NaomiRuth manages to make table front posing
look rather normal.
Jenn N and Tim Gunn
"Make it work"
 NaomiRuth and John Hirsch

Jenn N (in blue) and her friend Jen (in coral)
with the men from Ellora's cave
Jenn N and R.L. Stine