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Book Recommendation

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When it comes to YA, I'm partial to contemporary. I read other things, and often enjoy them, but I still find myself most excited about a new book by my favorite contemporary authors - John Green, Sara Zarr, Sarah Ockler, Lindsey Leavitt, to name a few.

But Laini Taylor's latest, a YA fantasy, I had been excited about reading for at least a good year. First of all, I know the girl has a magical way with words, as is evidenced by her DREAMDARK books as well as LIPS TOUCH. Second of all, there were so many cool things that piqued my interest as I read about the various parties held to celebrate the book, both here and in the UK. Wish bones? Teeth? Blue hair? Marionettes? I could go on and on! Finally, the early reviews raved about it. I mean, RAVED.

And so, a few weeks ago, I finally got to read it. I really have no words for how much I loved this book. The writing is gorgeous, and the story original and fascinating. The worlds she created blew me away. And the mysteries she weaved into the story kept me guessing, and when things were revealed toward the end, it all made perfect sense and yet, I hadn't seen any of it coming.

It's made PW's and Amazon's Best Books of 2011 lists and I'm sure we'll see it on many more lists to come. And rightly so.

I'm not one who gets into trilogies, most of the time. I read the first book, a year goes by, I can't remember much of what happened in the first book to care enough to read the second book. I can't tell you how many books I've read that were the first in a trilogy and then I never read beyond that first book. The exception to this would be THE HUNGER GAMES.

But this trilogy, I'm in it for the long haul. I cannot wait for the second book. Like, I'm DYING to read the next one.

I think Laini Taylor is one of the greatest writers of our time. Yes, I'm lucky to call Laini a friend, but just go and read all of the 5-star reviews on Amazon, and you'll see that many, MANY people feel the way I do. She is one very talented lady!

Don't miss this book. Seriously.

YA Novels I've Enjoyed Lately

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I haven't done one of these posts in a while so thought I'd do one now, although I have a list of things to do a mile long before I head out tomorrow on Amtrak. I'm going to Central Washington to talk with students about reading and writing. Wheeee - can't wait! And my first Amtrak trip too! The trip through the Columbia River Gorge is supposed to be beautiful!

Where She Went
by Gayle Forman

This is the follow-up to her best-selling novel If I Stay and wow, what an amazing read. Fans of If I Stay are going to LOVE this one.

"It's been three years since the devastating accident... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future and each other." To be released April 5, 2011.

Take Me There by Carolee Dean

What can I say, I'm a sucker for bad boy books. I loved all the characters in the book. They were done extremely well and Dylan's voice grabbed me from the get-go, and I so wanted Dylan to beat the odds.

"Dylan has a bad-boy past and a criminal record. He knows that rich, beautiful Jess is way too good for him--but she has always been the one person who sees through his tough exterior and straight to his heart, and he has been hopelessly in love with her from the first time they met. He would change his life for a chance to be with her. But trouble follows Dylan wherever he goes, and a deadly mistake soon forces him to hit the road and leave his dreams behind. He's on the run and in search of answers--answers to questions he wishes he'd never asked." Available Now!

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

I'm so thrilled to see all of the fantastic reviews of this book that have popped up since it was released a week ago. I've been a fan of this book for a long, LONG time, before it had a cute boy on a cover and hearts at the beginning of every chapter.

"In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavit seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance." Available now!

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

I was so excited to read this, and it did not disappoint. Kim's verse is beautiful and the story is one that touches your heart and makes you feel for all of the characters involved. All of the photography references worked so well in the story and added a nice dimension to the poems.

"Sixteen-year-old Liz Grayson is photogirl--sharp, focused and ready to take the world by storm with her camera. But Liz's entire life is called into question when her brother is accused of a crime. Even worse? The accuser is Liz's best friend." Available now.

I have more, but that's all I have time for now. What have you read lately that you've enjoyed?


Portland authors rock!

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It has been a great 30 days or so for Portlanders! I mean, check out my haul!!

I'm proud to say all of my copies are signed by the authors! At one of the book signings, I said, when I'm an old lady and books are hard to find, I can sit in my rocking chair, flip through the pages, and remember the good old days.

Starting in the left corner and going clockwise:

THE CANDIDATES (Delcroix Academy, Book 1) by Inara Scott

WILDWING by Emily Whitman


GIRL, STOLEN by April Henry

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some reading to do!!  
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I picked up the ARC of SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR by Matthew Quick at the Texas Library Association conference. There was a huge stack of them, and I wondered what that meant. Now, I know. This is the kind of book you want to get into as many people's hands as possible because you will read it, love it, and want others to read it too.

The voice takes a little getting used to, but once I was in a chapter or two, Amber had me and I was ready to follow her wherever she wanted to take me. The back of the book says:

"I spread hope.

I'm a hope spreader.

Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom's boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow. But Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. Instead, she focuses on bettering the lives of the people around her. But then a fatal tragedy threatens Amber's optimism -- and her way of life. Can Amber survive and continue to be the princess of hope?"

This book is my kind of book. A cast of characters so real and quirky and different, you want to live inside the book and just be around them. I laughed out loud, and I cried, I mean really CRIED, and when I turned the last page, I shouted to the heavens, more books like this PLEASE!!

Award committees - I hope you are listening. Here, maybe if they have their google alerts set: Printz, Printz, Printz, Printz, Printz, Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, ALA, YALSA, Printz, Printz, Printz, Printz!!!

I found this amazing trailer on youtube that is like - whoa, so professional! Check it out, but more importantly, pick up this book. You won't be sorry.


p.s. The main character in my novel coming out next year, THE DAY BEFORE, is also named Amber. This was decided long before I read this book or even knew this book existed! I have already changed one name in the book, and it was very hard, and I simply cannot change Amber. I swear it is completely coincidental!!

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Lindsey is a doll and I'm lucky to call her my friend.

I'm also lucky to have read the first couple of chapters a few years ago when there were only a couple of chapters written. I told her she HAD to write the book because it was so original, so clever and so funny!

I'm also really lucky my name is on the back of this book, because I think her Princess For Hire series is going to very successful: "I totally heart this book! Funny, witty, and magical, PRINCESS FOR HIRE is a must-read." --Lisa Schroeder

You will be the lucky one if you go and get yourself a copy. I promise, you will love it! So what are you waiting for?

I know some other authors are celebrating book babies today too!! So while you're shopping, here are a few more to add to your list:

THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting is out today.

THE UNWRITTEN RULE by Elizabeth Scott is out today

And BORROWED NAMES by jeannineatkins  is out today too!


Thanks and books, books, BOOKS!

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Thanks to everyone for their happy book birthday wishes yesterday. There were others celebrating yesterday besides me, and although I tried to wish them all a happy day on Twitter, I want to give a shout out here.

Varian Johnson - SAVING MADDIE





Wow, I need to go shopping and get reading!! Since I'm on the subject of books, I want to sing the praises of some great books I've read recently as well. 

I LOVED these books. Although they are all very different from each other, each one touched my heart in some way, and they are books I know I will remember. Definitely a sign of a great book for me.


LEAVING GEE'S BEND by Irene Latham

SOME GIRLS ARE by Courtney Summers

BLUE PLATE SPECIAL by Michelle Kwansey


Two thumbs up

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Books I've read lately and loved:

ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr. I love the very real yet subtle exploration of faith in this book. Release day is today, October 1st - go and get yourself a copy!

HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick. This was a real page-turner and kept me guessing until the very end.

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett. I felt like I lived with the characters in this book, which takes place during the civil rights movement. One of my favorite reads of 2009!

BREATHING by Cheryl Herbsman. Sweet, sweet book with great characters, a memorable setting and a voice that you remember long after you close the last page.

What have you read lately that you've loved?
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I love this book!

Description from Indiebound:

Gianna Z has less than one week to collect, identify, and creatively display 25 leaves for her science project or else she won't be able to compete in the upcoming cross-country race. As the deadline for her project draws near, life keeps getting in the way.

Kate Messner has such a way with characters and details, I felt like I was a part of Gianna's family. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Gianna, her mom, and Nonna walk the Frost trail. There Gee and Nonna read Robert Frost poems on little signs and contemplate why the poems are placed in the particular spots. I SO want to go there!! Anyway, then Gianna climbs a tree, and from there, with the help of wonderful Nonna, she's able to see her mother in a little different light.

Here's a little taste:

"And my perfect tree has a perfect view. The shoe box on the root looks tiny from up here. But the mountains, all hazy purple in the distance, still look big and old. And the trees are amazing. My eyes skim the tops of fluffy red and yellow trees still holding on to September, then swoop down into the dark spaces where the leaves have already fallen, where black branches scratch the edges of the hills."

Such beautiful writing, and yet totally accessible for kids too. Gianna is funny and her family is quirky and they all wiggle their way into your heart and stay there.

THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. by Kate Messner releases September 1st. Read it!!

Book Recommendation - JUMPING OFF SWINGS

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I probably shouldn't do this on a Sunday, because I don't know if many people read blogs on Sunday, but I have a busy week ahead and not sure how much I'll be around these parts.

Jo Knowles is the author of JUMPING OFF SWINGS and wow, does Jo tackle the tough subjects or what!? LESSONS FROM A DEAD GIRL was her first novel and it was almost difficult for me to read in parts it was so painful. But I think she has a gift - it takes a special something to write about tough subjects in a way that is honest and real. And Jo obviously has that special something.

JUMPING OFF SWINGS is told from the point of view of four teens, four friends. How one night and the aftermath affects their four lives is played out in the book, and we get to know each of the four characters (Ellie, Corinne, Josh and Caleb) so well, they start to feel like friends of ours. And as a result, the pain they feel becomes our own. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot, while my son was at an appointment, as I read the last quarter of the book, and I cried and cried.

It's SO well-written, the dialogue real, the pacing superb... I could go on and on. I can see this being a great book for teen book clubs and literature circles. It tackles teen pregnancy in a way that speaks to us, just like 13 REASONS WHY tackles suicide in a way that speaks to us. I really think, and certainly hope, this book could see the kind of success 13 REASONS WHY has had.

JUMPING OFF SWINGS is released August 11, 2009 - check to find an independent bookstore near you, and ask them to order it!

Friday Five in books

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I'm home today, to clean house and hang with the kids. Went to my brother's wedding last night and it was great fun. My kids had so much fun dancing!

Thought I'd quickly share some good books with all of you.

This one, SOUL ENCHILADA by David Macinnis Gill, made me laugh out loud the whoooole way through.

This one, EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev, made me wish I could have four little fairies as friends. I think Mustardseed was my favorite. So fun!!

This one, MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD, by Fransisco X. Stark, I'm reading right now and it is incredible.

I'm going to read this one, THE SEASON by Sarah MacLean, next. It's supposed to be sunny for the next 7 days and it seems like the perfect book to read on the patio with a cup of iced tea! I was just looking at goodreads, and wow, everyone LOVES this book.

Hmmm, that's only four. Okay, number five isn't a book, it's a movie. Robert Downey, Jr. AND Jude Law in one movie!! Are you kidding me? Cannot wait!!

Have a great weekend!


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Lisa Schroeder, Author for Kids and Teens

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