Archive for: ‘June 2009’

My 5 Minutes of Fame…Because of a Book!

June 30, 2009

But not the book you think…I'm visiting the WRITEFORAREADER blog today, posting as the second installment in Shelly's fabulous series, BECAUSE OF A BOOK.

You can read about the many naughty things I did & the delusions I harbored & how everything changed because of a book here.

Thanks for having me, Shelly! I have to say, I really enjoyed all the comments on my post. I think many of you have your own passionate stories about the books that made you, well, who you are. Thanks for sharing.

Eventually I will add this post to my own archive, so if you missed it on Shelly's blog, one day you can check back here for it. :)

L.A. Hearts YA: Signed Copy Contest!

June 29, 2009

Welcome to LA, Baby! Though BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is set in South Carolina, and Kam's family is from North Carolina, we both now call L.A. home.

As many of you know, Kami and I just had the pleasure of catching up with some of LA's finest at Vroman's Massive Temple of Books (that's not really the name) for their blockbuster LAYAPalooza. Pizza, Trivia games, and more than a dozen local writers mingling with readers and bloggers *Hi Khy!* and then a few geeks, well, two, like Kami & me.

                                        Vromans bookstore

Vromans  is amazing. They had everything I was looking for, and let's just say I DID NOT COME AWAY EMPTY HANDED! I think you can see the towering stack of books in the archive of Khy's blog.

Which is where you step in, bloggyfriends. I have obtained (through special means involving a credit card that worked on the second try and a dashing cashier) a signed copy of every YA book from the event, and will be giving away two a week, every Monday.

Local author love, local bookstore love. If you are in Southern California, stop by Vromans! You can buy books and then have cake and coffee. At least that's what we did…

The first giveaway: A SIGNED COPY OF ABSOLUTELY MAYBE, by Lisa Yee…

Picture 4 

In Lisa Yee's off-beat, emotional adventure, Maybe (short for Maybelline) attempts to discover herself while experimenting with all the quirks of teen evolution: coloring her hair with different packets of
sugar free Kool Aid, running away to Los Angeles, and working in a Taco
Truck (no true Los Angelino could pass that plot beat up!) The latest Lisa Yee is one
of my favorite YA reads of this summer.

You can find out more about LISA YEE here.
You can find out more about how to DYE YOUR HAIR WITH KOOL AID here.
You can find out more about TACO TRUCKS here.


Picture 3

In Sasha Watson's debut novel, a lonely artist who cares for her mentally ill mother is suddenly given a scholarship to a prestigious art school in Paris. She doesn't Pray, but she Eats and Loves. Vidalia is a complicated character, and becomes caught in an equally complicated web of intrigue that quickly becomes more than a simple summer adventure. But Paris, as seen through Vidalia's eyes, is the main character here, and compared to what you'd spend on airfare, you can't afford to pass this up.

You can find out more about SASHA WATSON here.
You can find out more about Paris and the ECOLE DES BEAUX-ARTS here.
You can price your ticket to CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT here.


Leave a comment telling us about a local favorite of your hometown. Whether a bookstore or a taco truck or a pizza joint or a hamburger hotspot, we want to know!

Winners will be announced next Monday, when the next LAYA contest goes up! Now get posting! 

MitaliandMargie Reviews: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

June 25, 2009



<photo credit: Justina Chen Headley's myspace>

It's 12:00 EST which means my MitaliandMargie challenge book review is posted! Will have to check the time stamp on your post, Mitali, or you will be sending a leeeeeettle package my way…

Justina Chen Headley's NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL tells the story of Terra Cooper's struggle to define her identity in her last year of high school. Though Terra is a gifted collage artist, she can't get past the port wine birthmark that colors one side of her face to find the beauty in her own life. Neither her boyfriend or best friend or even her family seem to really know her. Enter Jacob, whose struggles with similar issues begin to shine light on Terra's…

NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL is a well-crafted, likeable story that, like a collage from Terra's own art show, brings together such disparate elements as a Chinese orphanage, geocaching, physical beauty, Starbucks, skincare, goth culture, cartography and Seattle.  While at it's heart a compelling romance, NOB tackles the enormous issue of what we value as a family, a culture, and a community — and how we learn to value ourselves. Not a page of this book is superficial or cliche — which is important, in a book about being true to yourself — and every quirky, wonderful relationship turns upon its own specific terms, bringing its own small revelations, triumphs and heartbreaks.

Terra's journey to map her own identity takes her through so many issues we all face, particularly as women in American culture, that I suspect you will soon find yourself using the points of Terra's journey to map your own. I know I did. NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL, in that respect, is something more than just a story. Maybe something north of a story. Maybe something more like a compass, all its own.

Visit Mitali's blog, ALLEY OF BOOKS, to see her review of NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL here. Unless of course she did not post by Friday. In that event, feel free to taunt her on twitter :)

Visit Justina Chen Headley's website (but do not feel free to taunt her on twitter) here.

Noel Streatfeild Reprints: Tipoff From a Librarian

June 24, 2009

Since so many of you loved BALLET SHOES like Lisa Mantchev and I did, I thought I would post this Noel Streatfeild update.  Did you know a) Noel Streatfeild is a she? And b) she also wrote adult novels under the pen name Susan Scarlett, which have now been reprinted?

You can now order POPPIES FOR ENGLAND, MURDER WHILE YOU WORK, & CLOTHES-PEGS directly from the U.K. Three classic Streatfeild period pieces set in a seaside camp, a munitions factory, and the fashion industry, respectively.


I particularly like the publisher's description of CLOTHES PEGS as a tale of "camraderie, sustained by glasses of port and bromo-seltzers," whereas in MURDER WHILE YOU WORK, the most you can hope to look forward to is "fried spam for tea." Um, I'll have both, please!

                     Image1       Image1

How am I so learned? A tip-off from one of our very favorite librarians, Margaret Miles of the Wilmington, N.C. library. She directed us to this site for Greyladies, which Margaret calls

a publishing venture of
a secondhand children's bookshop in Edinburgh called The Old Children's
Bookshop (a name which, as an old child and devoted reader of old
children's books, I must pause to applaud). So far, they have reprinted three of the books Noel Streatfeild wrote under the pseudonym "Susan Scarlett."

Thank you Margaret Miles! Lisa Mantchev was so thrilled to hear about all of the above — and I've ordered my copies this morning.  If anyone wants to borrow when I'm done, leave a comment below :) Now let the Noel Streatfeild/Susan Scarlett love flow…

By the way, just out of curiousity, if you had a pen name, what would it be? Kami and I were going to be Caroline March, once. And my friend Kari in middle school was going to be Jade Alexis Foster. Who would you be?