Posted on Feb 24th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Uncategorized

My protagonist, Victoria Darling, is passionate about drawing the nude figure, it’s her thing, and she doesn’t make apologies for it. In Edwardian-era England drawing the nude something boys can do but not the girls. It was way too scandalous to be in a room with a naked person in it, especially if that naked person was a boy!  But Vicky is that kind of girl who will do whatever it takes to reach her goals.

She also hates to be ignored because she’s “just a girl.” I can relate to Vicky in this because I’ve always hated being told you can’t do this or that because you’re female. In the beginning of the story one of the artists in Vicky’s life drawing class asks Vicky why she hasn’t posed nude. All the male students posed for the class when a model couldn’t be found. Vicky is a feminist, and therefore she won’t accept double standards for men and women, so she does it. And although she gets in trouble, she doesn’t regret it. And she has goals and problems that aren’t just romantic. Although she does has a love interest, he isn’t her whole world, and he isn’t the answer to her problems.

About a Mad, Wicked Folly

The year is 1909. After seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling poses nude for her art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school and shipped back to London to live with her parents. To minimize the scandal Vicky has caused, her parents inform her that she is to marry the young man they have selected for her, Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. She is not to continue painting. Vicky knows little about Edmund but accepts the match, reasoning that she can use his money to pay for tuition at the Royal College of Art.

But things don’t go according to plan. Despite her engagement, Vicky develops an interest in the handsome young police constable William Fletcher, an aspiring novelist who encourages Vicky to pursue her dreams. She goes quickly from seeing Will as an artistic muse to seeing him as much more, all the while knowing that she could never be with a man so far below her class.

When Vicky becomes entangled with a group of suffragettes, she comes to realize that the constraints on her aspirations and independence don’t apply only to her-they apply to all women. But how can she fight for women’s equality and pursue the life that she wants without driving away everyone and everything that she’s known?

About Sharon Biggs Waller:
Sharon Biggs Waller is a novelist and award-winning non-fiction writer who lives on a 10-acre sustainable farm in northwest Indiana with two horses, four dairy goats, four cats, two dogs, and 60 laying hens. She is a dressage trainer who for many years was a Civil Service Club instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace in London.  Visit her at http://sharonbiggswaller.com or on Twitter @Sbiggswaller.

Posted on Feb 19th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Society's Bookshelf, Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and gives us a chance to feature a book we’re waiting to read.

I was drawn to this book by the cover and the synopsis really had me wanting to read this!

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

What book are you waiting on this week?

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Posted on Feb 17th, 2014 by audra
In these categories book review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: Wanderville
Author: Wendy McClure
Release Date: January 23, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Publisher

Jack, Frances, and Frances’s younger brother Harold have been ripped from the world they knew in New York and sent to Kansas on an orphan train at the turn of the century. As the train chugs closer and closer to its destination, the children begin to hear terrible rumors about the lives that await them. And so they decide to change their fate the only way they know how. . . .

They jump off the train.

There, in the middle of the woods, they meet a boy who will transform their lives forever. His name is Alexander, and he tells them they’ve come to a place nobody knows about—especially not adults—and “where all children in need of freedom are accepted.” It’s a place called Wanderville, Alexander says, and now Jack, Frances, and Harold are its very first citizens.

In the late 1800′s through the early 1900′s orphaned and misplaced children traveled on “orphan trains” which took them from cities like New York City to new homes in the Midwest to help populate the new towns. This forms the basis of Wendy McClure’s new book Wanderville. After Jack’s brother died in a fire at an industrial building his parents sent him away for a better life. On the train journey he meets Frances and Harold, two siblings who were sent on this journey from their orphanage. They quickly realize that this isn’t as glamorous as they perhaps first thought it would be.

After putting two and two together Jack devises a quick plan to escape the train. While being on the run, they come upon Alexander who shows them his grand and wonderful town of Wanderville that he founded after being an orphan sent to live and work on a farm. Alexander is able to confirm the rumors that the kids aren’t sent to happy, perfect homes but instead are used as cheap labor for family farms, which convinces the kids to join his new town.

Wanderville was a great journey middle grade book. I think it may have a difficult time capturing the imaginations of kids as it isn’t action packed and too adventurous but it is still a great read that would be perfect for middle grade readers that enjoy historical genre books. The book also uses situations to teach good lessons to readers, but it comes across a bit too obvious to me. I’m not sure if that is because of my reading level or not.

Overall, while I probably won’t continue on with this series I am willing to bet younger readers will really enjoy getting to follow these kids throughout their Wanderville journeys.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|IndieBound

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Posted on Feb 12th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Society's Bookshelf, Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and gives us a chance to feature a book we’re waiting to read.

Last week I featured a sequel and this week I’m going to be doing the same with The Treatment, the follow up book to The Program, another book I absolutely loved.

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

What book are you waiting on this week?

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Posted on Feb 10th, 2014 by audra
In these categories book review, Book Tour

Title: GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE

Author: Andrew Smith
Genre: Fiction | YA | LBGT
Release Date: 2/11/14
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He is stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.
Ultimately, it is up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition. 
This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.
Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle is hands down the weirdest, coolest most original book I have read in a very, very long time. Having said that,  I do not think this book is for everyone. Smith’s quirky writing shines in the narrative, mainly shown through Austin as he navigates this end of the world scenario with his best friend Robby and his girlfriend Shann. The three of them live in the small town of Ealing, Iowa and thanks to some genetically modified food they have to figure out how to survive a worst case, end of the world scenario.
At first I wasn’t sure what to make of Grasshopper Jungle. The unique characters and writing style is unlike anything I’ve read thus far in the young adult genre. Austin is such a hilarious character that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the horrible antics he and his friends got into. What I really loved is how realistic Austin’s interactions with the world was. Smith doesn’t shy away from hard hitting topics, but does so without feeling like its being forced down my throat as a reader. We’ve got his gay best friend, horny kids, drug use, broken families all tied together with a sci-fi praying mantis and an underground bunker filled with odd science experiments and semen. In fact semen seems to be the glue that holds the story together.
Austin’s burgeoning sexuality and all the related confusion and obsession made this story feel genuine even with all the giant hybrid killer insects. I love the realness that the characters give me, nothing felt cleansed and fake. The teens are smoking, Austin constantly thinks about sex, and Robby is gay. Can we talk about that for a minute? I LOVE that there is a gay character, with gay interactions and yet this book doesn’t come off as an LGBT book. As a lesbian myself, I have usually really disliked LGBT themed books because they just come off as so fake and unrealistic. Smith NAILED this and I couldn’t be more appreciative of it.
Again, this book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. There’s a lot of profanity and sex that would make some readers cringe. If you enjoy that or can look past it, plus enjoy end of the world sci-fi books, drop what you are doing and go read this book!

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).

He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, coming February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.
Super thanks to Penguin we have an incredible giveaway for you! Enter below for your chance to win a copy of Grasshopper Jungle plus a Grasshopper Jungle Tshirt!

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Posted on Feb 5th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Ally Condie

Ally Condie Author Photo

Live in Pennsylvania, Utah or Washington? Check out the new events Ally will be at below!

February 22 2:00 PM
Parkway Central Library
Philadelphia, PA

March 8
UVU Teen Author Boot Camp
Conference Registration Required
Orem, UT

March 13-14
Cavalcade of Authors
Pasco, WA

Will you be attending any of these?

Posted on Feb 5th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and gives us a chance to feature a book we’re waiting to read.

I devoured In the After by Demitria Lunetta so I have been dying to read the follow up. Is it June yet?

The thrilling conclusion to In the After, the survival story of Amy and Baby, set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures. 

It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.

One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.

What book are you waiting on this week?

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Posted on Feb 4th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Society's Bookshelf, Top Ten Tuesdays

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry.

I don’t often cry while reading books, but have definitely shed my fair share of tears. Here are some books that have made me cry, and some that could very well make you cry.

Bridge to Terabithia This is the very first book to ever make me cry. My aunt gave it to me for Christmas when I was in sixth grade, and I remember finishing the book the very same day and just feeling horribly sad. I never could go back and reread it a second time, and the movie destroyed me just as much if not more than the book.

The Fault in Our Stars If this book doesn’t make you cry I suggest you take some time to find your soul, because seriously. All the feels.

Eleanor and Park This book touched me like a book never quite has before. I really so identified with Eleanor in so many ways. I left feeling so completely sad and empowered at the same time.

Mockingjay To avoid spoilers for those still living under the rock I won’t go into too many details, but the ending of this book had me bawling like a small child. Leaving me almost in the same condition I was in reading TFIOS; basically in the fetal position.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (but really the entire series) There were a few moments in this book that made me weepy, but mostly it was the closure that really made me lose it a bit. Harry Potter was so much a part of my life that I really felt so empty when the epilogue ended.

Marley and Me You thought the movie was bad? The book just about destroyed me about the same, if not worse.

The Notebook I’m sensing a theme here in the books that make me cry also have a movie counterpart. I read this book after I watched the movie, and cried just about as much reading the book as I did watching the movie.

If I Stay This book starts out pretty sad and continues that theme throughout the book, how can you not cry reading this one?

The Book Thief What an endearing, beautifully told story. I didn’t cry, but I’m putting this on the list for all those that will.

Allegiant Again, no spoilers for those that haven’t read this but the ending is quite the tear jerker.

 

Posted on Feb 3rd, 2014 by audra
In these categories Uncategorized

Robison Wells is an absolutely wonderful writer. We’ve enjoyed each of his books (especially his most recent book Blackout!) Because we love him so much, we really want to help spread the word about a campaign to help him out in a moment of need.

His friend Luisa Perkins has an offer on her blog to further give you reason to want to help out this awesome guy!

 

Posted on Feb 1st, 2014 by audra
In these categories Cover Reveal, Society's Bookshelf

Finding Mr. Darcy: High
School Edition
Release Date: 09/16/14
Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Liza Johnson takes fangirl to a
whole new level of crazy when she decides to take dating advice from her
literary hero: Jane Austen.
With the help of her best friends, Liza sheds her ancient-speak and complete
Austen wardrobe for something a bit more modern in an attempt at finding her
very own Mr. Darcy.
Enter Will, the new kid and Liza’s Darcy incarnate. Add her BFF’s ex to mix and
the sexy Brit who kisses with an accent, and Liza is in trouble.
So, what’s a girl to do? Without her mom to go to relationship advice, Liza
turns to the only person she can truly trust with matters of the heart via her
mother’s copy of COMPLETED WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN.
It’s too bad Austen’s heroines have never played Spin the Bottle or Seven
Minutes in Heaven. Liza’s determined to find her true Austen-esque happy
ending, but if she can’t trust herself instead of books, she just might end up
in her own tragic love story.
About the Author
Erin Butler is lucky
enough to have two jobs she truly loves. As a librarian, she gets to work with
books all day long, and as an author, Erin uses her active imagination to write
the kinds of books she enjoys reading. Young Adult and New Adult books are
her favorites, but she especially loves the ones with kissing scenes.
Erin lives in Central
New York with her very understanding husband, a stepson, and doggie BFF,
Maxie. She prefers to spend her time indoors reading and writing, but
will venture out for chocolate and sunshine. She is the author of BLOOD HEX, a
YA paranormal, HOW WE LIVED, a contemporary New Adult novel, and FINDING MR.
DARCY: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, a contemporary YA.

 

Author Links:
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