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Friday, June 6, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Brazen by Katherine Longshore

*My post was originally supposed to go up on June 2nd, but due to a family emergency I was unable to reach a computer until now. So sorry for the inconveniences this may have caused! *

Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Expected Publication Date: June 12th, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Page Count: 528 pages
Format: ARC
Genre: Historical fiction
Ages: 14+
Books Inc.
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?
About Katherine:
Katherine Longshore grew up on the northern California coast. At university, she created her own major in Cross-Cultural Studies and Communications, planning to travel and write. Forever. Four years, six continents and countless pairs of shoes later, she went to England for two weeks, stayed five years and discovered history. She now lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshiping dog. Where you can find Ketherine 

I think everyone already knows how much I love Katy's books so when Brazen showed up in my mail I seriously freaked out. Everyone at my work looked at me like I was crazy, and when it comes to Tudor fiction I usually am. Anyway, despite the fact that I knew how this book would end, I loved every minute of it and my heart melted into a million pieces. Brazen is the kind of book that will keep you awake reading until it's done and have you talking and researching for months after. In fact, I immediately pulled out every nonfiction book I own about the Tudors and scoured their pages for more information. I'm hooked and deeply crushed that it's over.

Mary Howard, wed to Henry VIII's bastard son, Henry Fitzroy, at the young age of 14 has a sad story to tell. Her life was incredibly hard. As daughter to Thomas Howard, the man who put Anne Boleyn on the throne and a notoriously rough and power-hungry man, she was constantly manipulated to serve her family. Also forbidden to maintain a romantic relationship with her husband, Mary watched him from afar, unable to know him in any real context. Katherine Longshore brings the world of these characters to life, making them identifiable in ways that one can only relate to the relationship you have with a best friend. When Mary found love, I fell in love alongside her; when she cried, I cried with her; and when she laughed, I also found the situation funny.

Katherine Longshore's ability to educate and entertain is something I'll forever love about her. Brazen is just another novel on a short list of books that capture my heart and my mind. If you're as big a fan of historical fiction as I am, then I highly recommend her books. I read all 500 pages in almost one sitting and I felt like no time had passed. Romance, frendship, and political intrigue all intertwine to create one of the best books I've ever read. Passing on Brazen will be one of the biggest mistakes you make in reading this year. Read it. Now. 

1 winner will receive all 3 books signed International.
2 winners will receive signed copies of Brazen US Only.

Follow the rest of the tour:

Week One:
6/2/2014- The Anne Boleyn FilesGuest Post
6/3/2014- Romantic Reads and SuchInterview
6/4/2014- Page TurnersReview
6/5/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy ReadsGuest Post
6/6/2014 (Updated) - Literary Exploration - Review
6/6/2014- Parajunkee's ViewInterview

Week Two:
6/9/2014- Gone With The WordsReview
6/10/2014- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview
6/11/2014- Bewitched Bookworms- Guest Post and Review
6/12/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
6/13/2014- Mundie MomsReview
6/13/2014- FiktshunInterview

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy Reading!

Hello, all of Miss Anna's awesome fans! I'd like to introduce myself! Most know me as Colleen, though some know me as The Stealthy Kitchen Mama (which is another long, very yummy story, involving indulgent midnight baking adventures and nearly everything chocolate.) Anna & I are bookseller friends through the same Indie Bookstore. 17 years ago (geez, do I feel old), I was re-introduced into the soul devouring world of Children's Literature through a now little known bookstore chain, Crown Books, which not only sparked an insatiable hunger for all things Children's Literature, as a 17 year old bookseller, but was also my very first job! A first job that's lasted 17 years, thus far! An obsession for fantasy, mystery and historical fiction that landed me smack dab into the same bookseller circle as Miss Anna! Who is seriously one of the most informative, passionate and quirky (because all hard core booksellers are just a wee bit quirky, right? Right!) ladies I've ever encountered! Needless to say, after surrounding ourselves with towering stacks of lovely new ARCs, and with far too much coffee coursing through our veins, we became fast book friends! Which led to this! An invitation to become her co-blogger! Here, with you! Which makes my day, every day. So if you're like me, and utterly consumed by YA fantasy, mystery and some historical fiction (though occasionally a Middle Reader title, or two, as well) then I have a sneaky suspicion that you & I will get along just fine =) So stay tuned! I might be throwing a review, or two, at you, very soon! Happy Reading, friends!


Friday, February 28, 2014

YA Review: Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Publication Date: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count: 464 pages
Format: Finished Copy
Source: NCIBA Conference
Genre: Fantasy
Ages: 14+

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

After hearing everyone rave about Burning Sky and how amazing it is I knew it would be a great book club pick and I was not wrong at all. High fantasy is incredibly rare in YA these days and I'm always looking for a mystical, magical world to sink myself into so Burning Sky became a must read. Let me just tell you, if you're looking for a world like Hogwarts or Narnia but for teens, than this is the book for you. Burning Sky is a mixture of high fantasy thriller and magical realism that will keep you guessing until the last page. I'm so thrilled that this is going to be a trilogy because I still have so many questions!

Iolanthe is supposedly the greatest mage of her generation and everyone wants something from her. The enigmatic and standoffish Prince wants her love, the Bane wants her power, but Iolanthe just wants to be free. Iolanthe is a great character. She's still naive enough to make poor choices, but strong enough to stand on her own when she needs to. There are also a lot of secondary characters that I just loved and I really hope that they come back in the next novels. 

If you're looking for an exciting and fast-paced fantasy story this is one for you. I know this book has been getting a lot of hype but it's for a good reason. My entire YA book club loved it and agreed that it's a great edition to the YA genre. I can't wait to see what else Sherry Thomas comes up with and I need more Prince Titus in my life! If you've been on the fence about reading this one than definitely sway toward READING IT NOW! I promise, you won't be disappointed! Burning Sky is great for fans of Graceling, Harry Potter, and Tamora Pierce!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Upcoming NYMBC Events in the Bay Area!

The Bay Area has tons of great young adult events happening all the time! Check out what's coming up and mark your calendars for the awesome!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Discussion Post - Do you reread books over and over again?

Rereading Books: Why I rarely do it, but probably should.

Why I rarely reread books.
I don't have the time. Seriously, finding the time to read a book once is hard enough and finding time to read that same book again is just impossible. As much as I love some books and genuinely want to reread them, it's hard to make an argument for it. I mean, I already know how the story is going to end, and I could spend that 5 hours it will take me to reread it to read something completely new.

I guess, some of the reasoning also has to do with work and blogging. When you work as a children's specialist, people expect you to be up-to-date on the newest and best books for kids. However, they also expect you to recommend classic books that their kids may not have read yet. For example, The Phantom Tollbooth or Secret of Platform 13, which are two books I read as a kid and loved. Do I remember anything about Secret of Platform 13? Not at all. I remember I loved it, but I have no idea what it's about anymore. It's hard to recommend a book that you don't remember the plot for. I find myself regularly thinking, "I should go back and reread that book..." and then never get around to it.

I think the biggest reason I don't reread books is because I just can't commit myself to the time it will take to read something old when I have over 300 books that need to be read for the first time on my shelves. I feel like I'm missing out on the opportunity to discover a whole new world by revisiting an old one. Also, a lot of what I read is so heavily dictated by blogging and work that I feel like by rereading something I'm missing out on the opportunity to review something new that people may not have heard of yet. I know it's kind of a ridiculous notion, and something I'm really trying to get away from this year, but still. Blogging and work will constantly be in the background of my reading choices.

Why should I even reread books?
Like I said earlier, there are a lot of books that I read when I was younger and I want to recommend them to kids now, but for the life of me I can't remember what they're about. Most of my memories come from watching the movie, if it came out later. Like Holes? I read Holes when I was in like, second grade, but what I remember the most is what happened in the (seriously awesome and hilarious) movie. I should probably reread Holes, mostly for content.

As a bookseller, it's important that I don't recommend books to kids that might be inappropriate for them. When parents ask about content, I need to know what the worst part of the book might be for specific kids. Kids who get scared easily aren't going to like Harry Potter or Wildwood. They get dark, people die, there is blood. These are things that sensitive kids won't be able to deal with. Which is fine. But, it's necessary for me to know how dark the content may get so that I don't recommend those books to kids who won't be able to handle it.

Also, sometimes I know a book will be great for someone, but my ability to talk it up is compromised when I can't remember what it's about. I have to say more than, "Yeah it's awesome! There are fairies or something like that!" Would you read that book? Probably not. I have to at least remember the basic premise. Also sex. I need to know if there's some crazy sex scene in it. I don't want to give a book to a 12 year old's grandma that has an intense sex scene in it. Usually working with kids is easier because I can ask them what they've read and how they felt about it and I can judge their interests and maturity levels better. But still. I need to know these things.

Which books do I actually reread?
There are very few books I've reread in my life, but some of them include: The Great Gatsby, which I read every summer just to remind myself why I love it so much; Chronicles of Narnia, which I also read every summer, all of them; Harry Potter, which I try to read every couple of years, but it usually takes me awhile.

Okay that's it. I've reread some books, mostly for school, but I don't revisit them regularly.

So which books, if any, do you reread? Are you a repeat reader?


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According to FTC guidelines I must point out that all of the books that I review on my blog were either purchased by me or were given to me by the author/publisher. All words and opinions expressed are my own and I do not receive any monetary goods for writing reviews. I will state in my review which books I have received for review and which books I have purchased/borrowed. All images and synopsis are taken from unless otherwise stated.
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