July 29, 2010

Emma Michaels

How would you feel if the clock chimes 13 times this Friday the thirteenth?   Shudder! Pick up a copy of Emma Michaels' book, The Thirteenth Chime,  released on (you guessed it!) Friday August 13.   While we wait, Emma is here to tell us about herself and her book.
Welcome, Emma!  You've mentioned hearing a neighbor's clock chime in the middle of a storm and that inspired you to write TheThirteenth Chime.  I first became interested because it made me reflect upon the winding the antique clock in my grandmother's living room.   Are there any other clocks or special antiques in your life?
A) My desk is an antique and I have something special planned for later books so I am going to keep this one a secret! :-)

Love love love the cover with the clock face Roman numerals inside the eye.  Who gets credit of thinking up that idea?  
A) I had a few ideas concerning the cover that I shared with my publisher, who in turn found an artist who had captured the same ideas in his head. With a few revisions I requested, the cover became what it is today and I am very grateful to the artist and Bokheim for helping to make my dream a reality. The cover fits the book perfectly!

You had many rejections, then you got an acceptance notice from Bokheim.  How did you celebrate?
A) I went to an Asian restaurant with my fiance and gave my Chihuahua an extra special treat!

What is/are your favorite television series?  Why?
A) Eureka, Warehouse 13 for this time of year but it changes depending on what shows are in season or not. I am really looking forward to seeing what they will do with Fringe and Grey's Anatomy.

When The Thirteenth Chime becomes a movie, who would you love to play David, Destiny and Stephanie?
A) I love playing with this idea in my head. It would be wonderful if a movie would ever be made of the book. Because of the chemistry between David and Destiny, I think I would like it if Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk could play David and Destiny, simply because I feel that the chemistry between them when they played Smallville was perfect - it's hard to match that kind of chemistry! For Stephanie, I can't help but imagine Dakota Fanning or Alyson Hannigan in the role. There is something about the heart and spirit of those two actresses that would bring to the surface how important her role is in the story.    
Please reflect upon your favorite childhood memories.
A) I loved spinning around in my grandfather's chair, sitting on his lap, whenever the Chargers football team would make a goal. I loved my grandmother letting me help with the cooking because it made me feel so special and included, even when some of the time it ruined her recipes and she had to start from scratch. I loved when my cousins and I discovered this field of ice plant going down the hill out back of my grandmother's house when we were small and showed her. We all got boogie boards and then went sliding down! My grandmother is amazing and has made sure my life has beautiful memories. I will always be so thankful to her for that.
If the world in your novel was real, and what you had written was happening, only now you were a main character, would it have turned out any differently?
A) hmmm... Maybe but probably not. What happened just seemed to be fate for everyone, but you will just have to read to find out what!!!
    Thank you so much for the interview and to everyone reading! Your support means so much to me!!!

Thank you, Emma, for visiting us. 
Emma Michaels Follower Award

July 27, 2010

review: What I Learned from being a Cheerleader

What I Learned from being a Cheerleader
publisher and excerpt:  Bell Bridge Books

A signed sticker for Middle School students!  Read on to see how to get one.    
Plot:    Elaine receives a diary on her eleventh birthday and immediately begins to write in it.   She is a "comic book geek" and meets with her friends who also love and draw comics.
      The same week of her birthday, she decides to try out for cheerleading in her middle school.  To her surprise and the disgust of the "popular" girls on the squad, she makes the team.   Problems start. Rumors fly around that Elaine cheated in order to make the squad.    How will Elaine overcome those rumors?  
My Perspective:   The author does wonderful descriptions of the 11-year-old's dilemmas of cliques, noisy neighbors, her first dance and her first boy-girl party.   In addition, the characterizations are done well.  I like Elaine, and that makes me more eager to see what she's thinking.  Elaine  doesn't yet have the teen-angst with her mom,  this was refreshing to read.   Her grandmother is a character that made me hoot, but I don't want to "grow-up" to be like her!
          When I read this book as an arc, there were no pictures of the comics Elaine and her comic-club friends drew, only verbal descriptions of each panel.  I even went to a bookstore to see if there was a final copy with drawings.   
Sticker for Middle Schoolers:   I contacted Adrianne Ambrose, the author, and asked about the comics.  She replied, "I'm hoping to encourage middle grade girls to try illustrating."   There may be a contest with prizes in the future. She also added,  "if girls do feel like trying to do a page or panel or even a character, they can email it to me via my blog and I will send them a signed sticker."
           The specially signed sticker would be a gem to put in one's own book!

Ambrose is also involved with a new Fraggle Rock hardcover coming in September.   How many of you enjoyed Fraggle Rock?

July 25, 2010

review: Don’t Blink

Guest Reviewer:  Tracy
      Hello! I’m Tracy, the lucky daughter of the lovely and talented Betty.  (note from Momma, flattery will get you more books to read!) Knowing my not-so-secret addiction to mainstream thrillers, she asked me if I wanted to read James Patterson’s newest novel, Don’t Blink, in exchange for writing a guest review here. Um, that was easy... Yes, please!

Like most of Patterson’s works, it’s a quick read with short chapters that never seem to end with a good place to put the book down - meaning I kept reading until it was over. Also true to the Patterson recipe, there’s an underlying theme of good guy versus bad guy mixed with a whole lot of death, a dash of an interesting setting, and a pinch of bittersweet romance thrown in for good measure.
      Set in New York City, protagonist Nick Daniels is a journalist who seems like a likable enough guy, but has a knack for finding trouble. With Nick caught in the middle of a Russian/Italian mafia war, I lost track of how many times he just barely escaped certain death. Good the first few times, but by the end I found myself rolling my eyes and wishing he would at least sprain an ankle to make this all a bit more believable.
        But really, who reads Patterson for a dose of reality? You know what you’re getting before you even crack open the book - a page-turner that’s perfect for killing an afternoon.
        Am I happy I read it? Absolutely. Will I rush out to buy it so I can read it again? Not so much.

Don't Blink
authors:  James Patterson and Howard Roughan
to be released September 27, 2010
arc received from Crazy Book Tours
Crazy Book ToursCymLowell

July 23, 2010

Got Books Giveaway!

Candace of Candace's Book Blog.  

 Welcome to the Got Books Giveaway! I know you're anxious to see what's available here.

Remember the Classic Illustrated magazine comics from your youth?  The cover for the Alice edition of the 1940s-50s comic book makes a pin showing the characters you love from the book. Three matching charms complete the look. First, a detailed double sided pewter Alice.  Second, a thick gold toned Queen of Hearts and third, an equally detailed double sided White Rabbit!
      This pin is specially handmade by Diane of Picture Purfect Design.  Diane has been making pins for years, using pictures from vintage books and magazines.  Whenever I wear a Diane production, I always get many comments. 

Next is the wonderful book This is Gabriel.  Here's the review I wrote last week.   If you don't have children with SPD, give the book to your local elementary school library.  The teachers will thank you!

Third, there's a handmade book string that a friend made to raise money for the Happy Hands Deaf School in Honduras.  See pictures of two girls  in yellow shirts on my sidebar on the right?  They are students in the school. The winner will get her choice of beads with a flipflop (green or blue) or a mint-green heel or a purple butterfly. 

To win these three prizes, fill out the entry form below.  I would love for you to follow my blog, but it isn't required.  Followers do get an extra entry.  I'll draw the winner through Random Numbers and email the winner.   You'll have 48 hours to reply with your mailing address.   Open internationally.  Giveaway ends midnight PST July 24.

After you fill out the form, head back to the Got Books main page for more books! 

This Giveaway is over.  Thanks for participating!

July 19, 2010

review: Bruiser

author:  Neal Shusterman
published  June 29, 2010
arc from Around the World Tours

        Bruiser grabbed me the day it arrived in the mail.  I opened the book in the afternoon  to read one sentence and finished it before nightfall.  Been aeons since I finished a book in half-a-day (not counting the preschool books I read to my grandson).
        The story is told from four points of view.   First there's Tennyson, an athlete, who has a tendency to be a bully.   He's angry because his twin sister Bronte is going to date the Bruiser.  Tennyson and Bronte, second POV, are children of parents who are professors of literature.  The parents are on the verge of separation.
       The Bruiser is Brewster, a big quiet guy who was voted The Guy Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty. His POV is written in poetic style.  Brew likes poetry, especially poems by  Allen Ginsberg, a beat poet.  Fourth POV is from Cody, Brew's eight-year-old brother.
       Tennyson invites his girlfriend on a date to a miniature golf course; his main motive is to follow Bronte and the Bruiser on their first date.  Naturally, Bronte is angry about this.  When Tennyson and the Bruiser eventually become friends,  impossible things start happening.   To say more would be a spoiler.  Enough to say the plot is wonderful. I'm going to look for more Shusterman books.

July 14, 2010

review: 101 Things I Learned in Culinary School

101 Things I Learned in Culinary School is deceptively simple.  Words are on the right side of the book with drawings or diagrams on the left.  

I've been cooking for more decades than I care to mention.   I found this book
  • enjoyable because of the quotes from famous chefs.
  • informative with details on sources of food, such as beef
  • full of descriptive drawings that prove  "a picture is worth a thousand words"  with many good comparisons of techniques. There is a big difference between a cup of sifted flour and a cup of flour sifted!
  • safe (gulp) I've been holding a knife the wrong way all these years!
  •  full of "secrets" in restaurants, such as why the chef's jacket is double breasted.
  • with great definitions. There is a difference between a cook and a chef.  I'm a cook cooking from the head following recipes.  My son-in-law is a chef who "cooks from the head and the heart, and knows that an understanding of ingredients and technique trumps any recipe."
Con:  the lack of an index.

I will lend this book to an amazing chef in his kitchen, my son-in-law, to browse through.  Then it goes to my school library for our students who go off campus for Culinary Arts classes.

disclaimer:  Won this book from Hachette via Vivian Deliz's blog On a Personal Note.  Thanks, Hachette and Vivian!

July 13, 2010

review: This is Gabriel

Does this boy look familiar?  Do you know someone who always has a wet sleeve from chewing on it?  Or a child that is always touching something or fidgeting?  Meet Gabriel;  he has Sensory Processing Disorder.  His  brain doesn't understand what the seven sensory systems are saying.  Gabriel goes to school and is trying to make sense out of it.

    Fortunately the real-life Gabriel has a mom Hartley Steiner who wrote This is Gabriel - Making Sense of School.  It explains the seven sensory systems (bet you thought you had only five senses!) and how a child with SPD views his world.  The book gives many ideas for accommodations in school. 
    This book is going straight to my school library,  it will be a life-saver for us teachers and the students.
     I think so much of the book that I'm ordering a copy as a giveaway for Got Books? on July 23-24.  Check back here to enter the Giveaway.

disclaimer:  I received the book courtesy of  Christy Bright of Beach Brights.  Thanks, Christy, and thanks Hartley, for permission to use the picture of the boy chewing his sleeve.

July 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Thoreau and Jessie!

July 12, 1891 -- my grandmother's birthday. 

Something I recently learned,  July 12 is also Thoreau's birthday.
 A quote by Thoreau:
Words do not lose their truth by time or misinterpretation, but stand unscathed longer than he who spoke them.
The book can be found at http://www.thumbingthroughthoreau.com 

disclaimer:  The publicist asked me to post the book cover and quote.  No monetary compensation was given.

July 7, 2010

Bird and Nest of Eggs

Isn't this cute?!?!  I love it even though my chicks have flown the nest.  The person that made this is having a giveaway at Reckless Bliss of a $50 gift card.  If you enter the giveaway, please use my name Betty as the one who referred you.  
Giveaway ends Thursday at noon, not too many hours left.

July 5, 2010

God's Invisible Finger

I'm enjoying Kelly Minter's  Ruth:  Loss, Love, Legacy studied by followers of the LPM Blog.  

Minter tells about God's hand on events in Ruth's life (Ruth 2:3-4);  the Hebrew phrase call it "a stroke of luck" but we are led to consider "the invisible hand of Yahweh".  We are asked to reflect upon evidence of His Providence.   I always remember back to the month I received my degree in education.

I had a job offer in a school in central Maryland.  But I really preferred a teaching position in a brand new high school on the college campus where I got my degree.  Hearing nothing from them,  I made plans for the summer and fall.

In the morning, I would get up before 6 AM,  drive to central Maryland to leave my signed teaching contract,  drive on to Indiana for a summer job, and then back to Maryland in the fall to begin full-time teaching.  

The night before, Sue asked me if I would drive her things over to her friends' home to store for the summer.   We loaded up my car and went to Dona's home.

When we arrived, I walked up the driveway, stuck out my hand, and introduced myself. This was rare for me.   Due to my shyness, I was content to simply smile and say "hi."   Besides, my maiden name was unusual and hard for strangers to pronounce correctly, so why bother?  Dona would never see me again anyway.  But, I went ahead and told her my first and last name.

Immediately Dona started laughing.   I was puzzled,  my name is not that funny.  Was something wrong with my clothes?  My face?  If so, Sue would have told me.  Sue, the kind of friend who would tell you if you have spinach between your front teeth.

After Dona calmed down, wiping away her tears of laughter, she said, "I am supposed to call you first thing tomorrow morning to come in for an interview.  I'm Dr. H's secretary."     A job interview at the school I really wanted!    My first thought:  I would have already left the house when she called in the morning. 

I postponed my trip to Indiana.  Dona called,  I went in for the interview,  got the job,  taught five years in the new school in Washington, D.C., and  met my future husband on campus.

That was God's invisible finger poking me in the back, "Girl, go up the driveway and introduce yourself!"

July 3, 2010

review: The Gardener

The Gardener
by S. A. Bodeen
arc from Around the World Tours

No summary given:  best you discover it for yourself.  Don't even read the back of the book.

I was grabbed from the first page by the protagonist, Mason, raised by a single mother.  At age five, he sees a videotape of his father, the same day his face is disfigured by a dog.  He grows to be a  large 15-year-old football player who protects the underdogs.   Mason is encouraged by his biology teacher to apply for a special summer program.  But his mother says, "NO!"   From there, it becomes a high-speed romp through the book.

While reading, I kept thinking this would be a great movie.   The author touches upon some serious issues in our society;  I won't name those issues -- again, better you read for yourself.

The only disappointment I had was the epilogue,  everything was wrapped up down pat in a paragraph or two, leaving me to wonder how did this happen?

Good Morning America names this as one of the Best Summer Reads.