Sunday, May 31, 2009

Part 2 of my interview with Julia Hoban- Author of Willow

Part 2 of Interview with Julia Hoban-YA Author

Staci: Is Young Adult your genre or do you feel that you may write for a different audience in the future?

Julia: Both! I do feel a special connection to YA literature, even more so since WILLOW has come out, and I've had the opportunity to talk to and connect with some very remarkable young women. It's a privilege to write for them. Having said that I very much intend to write adult fiction as well. I'd love to write a mystery more than anything, but I don't think I ever will. I'm in awe of those who do.

Staci: I really loved how vulnerable you made Willow's brother and that you allowed Willow to see him crying and releasing his pain. It really shows how healthy crying is and how Willow's cutting is so destructive. Where did that idea come from? How did you come up with this?

Julia: To my mind, David's crying and Willow's response to it, is really the heart of the book, and I'm thrilled that it not only spoke to you but that you got what I was trying to do. David's crying IS a healthy response to the situation he is in. It is the absolute opposite of the way that Willow processes her pain. There are three scenes where Willow watches her brother cry, and her reaction to each is an integral part of her growth. The first time she see him crying, she cuts herself. The second time, she forces herself to watch him without resorting to cutting. This is a tremendous step for her. It is after this that she is finally able to release her own feelings in a healthy way. And finally, the third time, she is able to go to him, to connect with him and comfort him in a way that she had not been able to do before.

Staci: I know that some readers feel that when author's write about such heavy topics such as, eating disorders, suicide, teen pregnancy, cutting, prostitution, that they should include a list of resources for someone who is dealing with the same problem. Do you feel that it's an author's responsibility to include this?

Julia: Well, that's an interesting question. I feel strongly that a YA author has responsibilities to their audience that a write in another genre might not. For instance, I would never have a character of mine have unsafe sex, unless the point of the book was about the consequences of unsafe sex. This is actually something I've gotten into arguments with other YA writers about. Certainly I felt it was crucial to show how very wrong, how absolutely destructive cutting is, not to glamorize it in any way. I wanted to have my character move beyond this terrible behavior. I would have felt as if I had committed a moral wrong if I did not show that her cutting and its consequences were dreadful. But as to including a list of resources, do you know that never even occurred to me! I can say that nobody at the publishers suggested it either. Perhaps it would have been a good thing to do, but I do think it is secondary to the first responsibility ---that of portraying the 'heavy topic' in a serious manner, of alerting the reader to the profound consequences of those particular issues.

Staci: Can you discuss with us what you're currently working on?

Julia: Well the fact is I'm horribly superstitious. Really!! In fact the corrections for WILLOW were due on April first, and I begged my editor to let me hand them in April second. I just couldn't bear the thought of sending in the book on April fools day! In any case, I would feel all sorts of worry if I let the cat out of the bag as regards my current project before I was finished.

Your readers may be interested in the fact that I connected with you because I was going through a ferocious case of writers block, and stumbled across your blog while (yes!) procrastinating. As I emailed you back then, something I read in one of your posts got me back on track. I won't say what it was now, but I do hope that whets your appetite!!

I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to Julia for being so gracious in taking the time to answer my questions and also to correspond with me. I hope that you enjoyed my first ever author interview!! Remember, every comment left on this post will be entered to win a copy of WILLOW!!!

***Edited: I am so sorry that this is being posted so late!! I came home from a very long day of motorcycle riding in Canada only to find that I thought I had this all ready to post this morning but guess what? Today is May 31, not June 1st!! I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed!!! Forgive me, please!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Guest Post with Author Julia Hoban and Giveaway!!

I am so excited to bring to my readers today a short Q&A that I did with author Julia Hoban. I want to preface it with letting my friends know that Julia is such an open and inviting person to talk to. We've been communicating for several months now and I finally read her book, which I absolutely LOVED and she graciously answered some of my questions. Enjoy and remember every comment enters you into the giveaway of her powerful novel, Willow.

Interview with Julia Hoban: Part 1

Staci: What made you decide to write about a girl who cuts herself?

Julia: I wanted to write about a character who was self destructive---as we all are to one degree or another. I wanted that character to grow and change, to heal and move beyond her damaging behaviors, something I would hope for anyone. I chose cutting because I thought that was a particularly dramatic form of self destructive behavior---one that would immediately take readers to the gritty heart of the matter.

Staci: Have you ever known someone who cuts themselves? What kind of research did you do in order to write such compelling passages about Willow's urgent needs to release her pain?

Julia: I was rather surprised to find out that I do in fact know several people who have been cutters. After my book came out some women that I'd known for years told me that they had experimented with this kind of behavior when they were in their teens. As for the research, I did quite a bit--I read case studies, some rather harrowing memoirs--these were invaluable as far as the technical details of cutting went. But as for getting to the depth of Willow's need--I looked to the challenges I've faced in my own life. I have never been a cutter, but I have felt that kind of despair, that kind of desperation, that absolute inability to process pain in the correct way.

Staci: Do you have a special place or ritual that you do while you're writing?

Julia: I'm sorry to say that my biggest ritual is procrastination! It's amazing how inventive I can be when it comes to avoiding work! However, when I do get down to it, I am always most comfortable writing in my pj's--preferably polka dot ones. Also, I consider myself very fortunate to have my own little office. It's painted the most heavenly shade of cornflower blue, and I designed my own desk. It's hand painted with roses. Yes, you read that correctly.

Staci: I know some blossoming young writers who get discouraged easily and they don't realize that even adults do re-writes and editing. From start to finish how long did it take to write Willow?

Julia: I wrote the first draft of the book very quickly. It was barely a hundred pages, and was really no more than a rough outline of the finished product. It was something I had to get down on paper though before I could go on. The next draft included a seven hundred page outline and took six months. But it's fatal to compare writing processes! Everyone is different! The important thing is to stick to it, especially when you're ready to give up. Look, if it makes anyone feel any better, take heart from this example: Van Gogh wrote to his brother that he didn't think he was worthy to paint in oils. Van Gogh! The man who forever transformed oil painting! I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you're discouraged, if you're beset by self doubt, don't let it get you down. You're in good company!

Staci: Did the character Willow haunt your dreams while you were writing this story?

Julia: I can't say I ever dreamt about Willow, but I can say that my every waking minute was obsessed with her. I think one not only has to be obsessed with their characters, but love them deeply as well. I read in Laurence Olivier's autobiography that he felt he truly became an actor when he learned to love the characters he was playing, flaws and all, without judging them. A writer has to feel the same way about the characters they are creating. We may be writing about people with tremendous failings, but we still have to adore them. We have to be willing to spend every moment with them occupying our thoughts.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2!!! And Thank you for stopping by today and taking the time to read my interview with Julia and to leave a comment!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Important Book- A Must Read for 2009! Willow by Julia Hoban

by Julia Hoban
Published: 2009
Genre: YA
352 painful, gritty, raw, and very real pages

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow’s parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow’s secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the “safe” world Willow has created for herself upside down.
Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl’s struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy’s refusal to give up on her.

My Thoughts:

Willow is going to be one of those books that you will talk about for days, even weeks later, after you finish it. There's no sugar-coating or glossing over the harsh reality of Willow's destructive behavior. And I think that's why I was so drawn into the story. I couldn't for the life of me understand why someone would want to hurt themselves in order to feel better. Crazy huh? Hoban does this though, she make you, the read, understand what is going on with Willow and why she chooses self-mutilation as the way she deals with her feelings. I'm sure a lot of parents will shy away from the topic of this book. Some may even feel that their teen shouldn't read this because it might make them want to "cut" themselves. People, that's just plain silly!!! I had to fight to keep Cut by Patricia McCormick, on my middle school shelves. I fought for it because I know of students who do this behavior or have friends that engage in cutting. Reading about it does not make someone do those actions. Instead, it educates that person and helps them to understand that they need to find a different way to express their hurt, anger, and repressed feelings. Willow takes Cut to the next level and really gets into the psyche of a young person who is overwhelmed with guilt, grief, and other unspoken feelings. Yes, it is gritty and painful, but it is so important for you, the reader, to complete this journey with Willow. To see that in the end she does reach out for help, but to get there is hard, oh so hard. For me, this book will put a spotlight on a subject that no one really wants to acknowledge--CUTTING. This is the book that will be the turning point to starting conversations with other teens, teens talking to their parents, parents talking to their teens, and even teens reaching out to a trusted individual for help. To me, Willow will be ranked right up there with the classic, Speak, and ten years from now, we'll still be talking about it, passing along copies to someone, and heralding the brave writing that Julia Hoban has accomplished.

Interested in hearing from the author herself?

Come back tomorrow when I host a Q&A with Julia. I sent her 9 questions which she so graciously answered and I will highlight 5 of those questions on Saturday. Sunday I will feature the remaing 4 and because I BELIEVE in this book so much I'm buying a copy to offer as a giveaway.

Giveaway Rules:
  • All comments from the 3 posts will be entered for the book drawing.
  • I'm opening it up for international.
  • Please just make sure that I have a way to contact you if you win!!
  • If not, I'll draw again.
  • Last day to enter will be Friday, June 5th at 10:00 pm est.

Other Reviews:
Presenting Lenore
Look at that Book

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Geometry of Sisters- My Thoughts

The Geometry of Sisters
-Luanne Rice
Published: 2009
400 Pages
Adult Literature

From Goodreads:
New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice explores with the penetrating insight for which she’s acclaimed to explore the complex emotional equations of love and loyalty that hold together three pairs of remarkable sisters—a bond that proves powerful and true even in the face of loss and tragedy. Here in the halls of Newport Academy, a unique private school that has attracted generations of rebels, outcasts, and visionaries, a poignant and unforgettable lesson in the eternal truths of sisterhood is about to begin.

My Thoughts:
This is my second time reading Luanne Rice. The first encounter I had with this author was listening to The Edge of Winter on CD. And to be perfectly honest, I wasn't that thrilled with it. The story was fine, but the narrator irritated me to death. But I'm not going to hold that against Luanne and when I saw the blurb about her newest book, it sounded interesting so I requested it from my library. I'm glad that I decided to 'read' the book this time instead of listening to it. I enjoyed her writing so much more this time around. I'm always drawn to stories about families in some sort of crises and this one has that, plus a little bit more. There wasn't really any surprises, but that was o.k. because I was just enjoying these characters and seeing what kind of choices they were going to make. I guess you could say that it was a predictable read. Which for me, every once in awhile, is just fine. I would recommend this as a fun, easy summer read. Or one of those books that you need to read to decompress after experiencing a really emotional or harrowing book earlier. I'm glad that I gave Rice a second chance and I'm sure that I'll pick up another one of her books in the future. Because in the end....I was satisfied.

If you're interested to read more about Luanne Rice and her books, you can find all of that at Random House.

If you have reviewed this book please let me know so that I can list your link!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Library Loot- May 27

Library Loot hosted by Eva and Alessandra
asks us to list what we brought home from
the library this week.

I'm out of excuses for my lack of self control, but I still have people to blame so I'm shunning all responsibility for grabbing these books and placing that upon fellow book lovers!! Here's what I brought home with me last Saturday!!

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
I am totally blaming Lenore from Presenting Lenore. Her post was so fantastic that I knew if I came across this book that I would have to get it!!
Isn't the cover pretty cool?

The Might Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson
The blaming honors go to Lisa from Books on the Brain. Her review made me want this book!!! As I was browsing the new non-fiction books the title jumped out at me and the book jumped into my bag!!!

The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
I've seen and read so many reviews on this book that I truly felt like I was missing out on something truly wonderful. This book was the reason I went to the main library in the first place!! It's going to be hard to just blame this on one person......Kathy from Bermuda Onion is the person who pushed me over the cliff!! Here is a short excerpt from her fantabulous review!
I really enjoyed this book and was engrossed in it and its characters from start to finish. The character development in this crime novel is fantastic. I empathized with most of the characters and wanted them to make good decisions.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
I'm passing the the buck to Chris from Stuff as Dreams are Made On for this one!! He always writes these wonderfully in-depth and heartfelt reviews and after reading this one I knew I couldn't make it through 2009 without acquiring this from the library!!

Skinned by Robin Wasserman
I don't anyone to blame...darn! I thought the cover looked intriguing (reminded me of the Uglies Series) and after reading the inside jacket, the story sounded good so in the bag it went!!

To Read List Total today 5/27/2009: 766
Last Week's To Read List total 5/20/2009: 753
Books Read in 2009 to date: 73
Number of Books Checked out from the library: 21

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays and It's Tuesday.....Where Are You?

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

"He himself did not know it until yesterday. My name is Mary Russell. I shall be his assistant on the case."
-The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King


I am in early 1900's England. My parents both died in the same accident and now I live with my greedy and sour aunt. While walking one day I happened upon a most interesting person--Sherlock Holmes. He has taken me in under his wing and now I'm his right-hand man. Right at this moment we're tracking a would-be assassin and if you can believe it, Holmes is stumped!!
~ The Beekeeper's Apprentice

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jack Reacher Giveaway!!!!!

I picked up 4 Jack Reacher books written by Lee Child at the library sale a while back. Since I'm feeling very overwhelmed by my continuously growing TBR stack, I would like to offer these up as a giveaway!!! I'm going to divide them up into 2 groups that way I can have 2 winners instead of 1.

Group 1
Tripwire- Book #3 in the series

Running Blind - Book #4 in the series

Group 2
The Enemy - Book #8 in the series

One Shot- Book #9 in the series

Everyone is welcome to enter!
No special rules but if you don't leave
me a way to contact you if you win,
then I'll have to pick
another winner!!
Giveaway entries need to be in by May 31st 9:00 pm est.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Catching up on Awards and Asking For Forgiveness!!

I wanted to take this time to acknowledge the awards that some fellow bloggers bestowed upon me in the past month or so. And in doing so I throw myself at your feet and beg your forgiveness for how long it has taken me to do this post!! My only defense is that I have a son who plays sports and that means 2 nights a week are late nights. Added on to that I am a Girl Friday for a couple of teachers so I do some extra stuff for them at night too. Plus, on top of all of that I try to keep up on my regular posting and visiting blogs...and I'm going to BLAME Bonnie at Red Lady's Reading Room who sent me an invite for Facebook and now I MUST spend time there too. Then, of course, I want to read, eat, and visit with my family!!!! You get the picture right?

I received this award from Harvee at Book Bird Dog, Kristina at Kristina's Favorites, and Kay at The Infinite Shelf.

One Lovely Blog Award
One Lovely Blog Award goes to new blogs and blogging friends.

***Thanks Harvee, Kristina, and Kay!!

I received this award from Caspette at The Narrative Casuality
The Lemonade Stand Award
For this award I will again go with the theme of new (or semi new) blogs and blogging friends I have discovered which I think are pretty darn good.

**Thanks so much Caspette!!

I received this award from Kristi at Books and Needlepoint
Sisterhood Award and also from Bonnie at Redlady's Reading Room.

**Thanks Kristi and Bonnie!!

I received this award from Robin at My Two Blessings
You Don't Say Award
What I want to award is to those people whose comments have meant THE WORLD to me. It takes time to visit a blog and leave a comment.Also, I wanted to recognize some special bloggers whose comments have made such an impact on me. The “You Don’t Say?” Award is awarded to these special bloggers

Thanks so much Robin!!

I got this pretty award from Anna at Diary of an Eccentric.
The True Fairy Tale Award
The award is for the hopes that one day all your dreams will come true!! Because we all are still Cinderella's at heart!

* I appreciate you thinking of me, Anna!

Received this one from Jane at Fleur Fisher Reads.
2009 Friendly Blogger Award

** Thanks Jane!!

I want to sincerely thank each and every friend who thought of me while they were passing these awards on.......if you read my blog then consider yourself tagged!!! I do plan on giving these out every Thursday!! I would be here all night if I tried to do it in one big post...I still have dial-up!!! But here's something that I can send out to all of my blogger friends tonight!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

Hosted by Janet
Play along now!! we go!

1. Moving ___is exciting and tiring__.

2. _Best things in life are ____ free like my husband's and children's love!!.

3. My best quality is _my way of making friends easily ____.

4. __It's all in the___ details.

5. In nearly 10 years, Mitch and Marc will be grown men!!!! Oh No!!

6. _A three day weekend____ is what I need right now, oh yeah, I'm getting one!! Hurrary!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going to town and getting groceries maybe____, tomorrow my plans include __washing windows and reading___ and Sunday, I want to __read, clean up my scrap room and be outside___!

Winner of The Chosen One

and the book goes to: Bermudaonion!!!

I'll be sending you an email shortly to get your snail mail address. Enjoy!!

And thanks to everyone else that entered!!

**winner chosen by the Interactive Fruit Machine

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Library Loot - May 20

Library Loot hosted by Eva and Alessandra
asks us to list what we brought home from
the library this week.

I've been good....very good!!!! But even though I haven't been adding a lot to the loot pile it doesn't seem as if I'm getting through them fast enough. These additions were two more holds that came in for me. I had to pick them up because I feel that it would've been rude not to!! Sounds like a good excuse doesn't it!!?

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber
---finally I have someone to blame again for getting this book. The Story Siren's blog is a YA lover's heaven, plus I read her reviews on Goodreads. This one is all her fault!

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson
--I think I read about this book from a Barnes and Noble Fall Reading Recommendation flyer.
I love the cover and it does sound pretty good.

To Read List Total today 5/20/2009: 753
Last Week's To Read List total 513/2009: 744
Books Read in 2009 to date: 72
Number of Books Checked out from the library: 23 still holding on that number!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays and It's Tuesday....Where Are You?

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

Talked out, I stopped, sighed, and expected Jacob to say something pat, commiserate with a "God, can you believe parents?" or "Are you sure your dad wasn't just trying to be funny?" But he stayed completely quiet as though he were listening to my silence, processing what I was saying without words. And finally, he said, "Even geniuses can be Class A assholes."

p.172 taken from North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley


I am currently living outside of Seattle where I live with my mother who eats her feelings and my father who is a verbally abusive jerk. I'm not perfect and he can't stand that. He hates looking at me because half of my face is covered with a port wine stain. I just want to get out of here and go far, far, away to college but I'm sure that dad won't pay for me to attend an "art" school. Life is depressing, that is until I met there seems to be all sorts of possibilities!
~ North of Beautiful

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mailbox Monday- May 18

Mailbox Monday
is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.
We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week.

Here's what showed up in my mailbox last week!

Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle & Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino
-from Roaring Brook Press
Perfect ages for my middle school library and I thought it sounded like a fun story!!

20 Boy Summer by Sara Ockler
-FSB Associates
I love YA and the premise of the story hooked me!

who do you think you are?: a memoir by Alyse Myers
-FSB Associates
I'm on a memoir kick right now so how could I resist?

What came for you?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Review: The Cellist of Sarajevo- My thoughts

The Cellist of Sarajevo

Author: Steven Galloway
Published: 2008
Pages: 235
Genre: Adult Literature but I would recommend it for YA readers too!!

Synopsis:In a city under siege, four people whose lives have been upended are ultimately reminded of what it is to be human. From his window, a musician sees twenty-two of his friends and neighbors waiting in a breadline. Then, in a flash, they are killed by a mortar attack. In an act of defiance, the man picks up his cello and decides to play at the site of the shelling for twenty-two days, honoring their memory.Elsewhere, a young man leaves home to collect drinking water for his family and, in the face of danger, must weigh the value of generosity against selfish survivalism. A third man, older, sets off in search of bread and distraction and instead runs into a long-ago friend who reminds him of the city he thought he had lost, and the man he once was. As both men are drawn into the orbit of cello music, a fourth character -- —a young woman, a sniper -- —holds the fate of the cellist in her hands. As she protects him with her life, her own army prepares to challenge the kind of person she has become.

My Thoughts:
This book was utterly amazing!!! If I hadn't been reading Musings of a Bookish Kitty I would've missed out on this beautiful book. It takes place during the siege of Sarajevo based loosely around an actual event. A man plays his cello for twenty-two days out in the open for all to see, putting himself at risk by death from the snipers that are in the hills killing the citizens at will. I've read only one other book that pertains to this time in history and that was, Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo, which was so gripping and opened my eyes to what these people endured. To help put their life and struggles into perspective, during the time I was reading this I was without power for three days because of a severe storm. I was feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't watch television or turn on the lights, make my coffee, or flush the toilet. The people in Sarajevo went without power for almost seven years. At times they would flip the switch by habit and the lights would be on!! This was a time when they would react quickly because they might be able to recharge their radios so that they could get news from the outside world. To get untainted water, one of the characters made the several mile hike to a brewery where a water source was available. But to do this, he had to cross streets and bridges which would leave him vulnerable to those that wanted to see him dead. This story revolves around Arrow, Dragan, and Kenan with the story of the cellist setting the scene. It is a fast and very involving read, one that you will find yourself not putting down and then when you do realizing how much we take for, electricity, running water, music, internet, phones, being able to cross the street and not fearing for your life. This was a powerful story that will stay with me for some time and one that I totally recommend to others. I know that it sounds so depressing and weary but it isn't at all, it's a story of how music connects humans to their memories, good and bad. It's a story of how music brings people together and gives them hope in the end.

I would like to share one passage that hurt my heart and made me really sit there and think about what is happening somewhere else on this planet while I take for granted my comfortable life.

"if we stay they will shoot at us from the hills until we're all dead, and then they'll come down just the same."
"The world will never allow that. They'll have to help us sooner or later." she says. He's not sure from her tone of voice if she believes what she says. He doesn't know how she could. They must both see the the same city disintegrating around them.
"No one is coming." His voice is harsher than he means it to be. "We're here on our own, and no one's come to help us. Don't you know that?"
Emina looks down, and fastens the top two buttons on her coat. She puts her hands in her pockets. After a while she says, very quietly, "I know no one is coming. I just don't want to believe it."

Interaction between Dragan and Emina while waiting to cross a dangerous intersection and bridge.

Other Reviews:
Caribou's Mom
Raider Girl 3
Printed Page
Books and Movies
Books for Life

If I missed yours please let me know so that I can post your link!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review: The Chosen One and Giveaway

The Chosen One

"If I was going to kill the Prophet, " I say, not even keeping my voice low, "I'd do it in Africa."

Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Published: 2009 St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA
Pages: 213 heart-stopping, gripping, I couldn't put it down pages!!!!

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. Or at least without questioning them much- if you don't count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her. But when the Prophet decrees that Kyra must marry her sixty-year-old uncle- who laready has six wives-Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family.

My thoughts:
This book is a very compelling and haunting story of a young girl's struggle to make her own choices regarding who she will love and give her heart to. Kyra is a character that you will embrace from the very first moment you meet her. A year or so ago, there was a lot of public scrutiny in regards to a polygamist community that forced young girls to wed older members. Well, this book takes you right inside and gives you an upclose and very personal look at what some of these groups force their young girls to participate in. I was truly appalled at the thought of a 13-year-old girl being "given" to a 60-year-old man, just because the Prophet had a dream about their so-called blessed union. Kyra loves her family and only wants to please her father and mother, but deep down inside she truly knows that their way of life isn't normal. She loved to read and before the new Prophet took over everyone was allowed to have books. But that changed and the one thing that she took refuge in was stripped away from her. She has an intense crush on a teen boy, Joshua, a fellow Chosen One. They share a sweet and special love with each other. A first love that should be treasured but instead it is one they have to hide, because she's been spoken for and even though she's not married, it would be considered adultery. This book disturbed me on so many levels....books being forbidden to read by anyone except the Prophets and Elders.......pedophiles (I truly believe they are) preying on young prepubscent girls.......violence against women and children.....threatening death if the Prophet isn't obeyed.....being controlled and watched......if I was Kyra I would've ran to!! Not everyone in this story is a bad person. Kyra's parents were raised in this atmosphere, but they both sincerely seemed to love their children. They were just too afraid to go against the Prophet. Doing that could mean that the wives and children were given to other men, while her father would've been thrown out of the compound. Kyra also finds a friend and confidant in Patrick, the man who drives the Mobile Library. In the end, Kyra's spirit and determination will have you rooting for her and believing that she will come out of this ordeal as a true survivor. I highly recommend this book to any adult and to young teens 13+.......this would be an excellent book to read for a teen book club or even an adult one, for that matter. There is plenty to discuss!!! Here are some passages that caught my attention:

Prophet Childs would never let one of us check out books from a public library.
"We have our beliefs," he's said. "We have our God-given freedoms. And not one is going to take that away by brain-washing us with Satan's teachings."

Prophet Childs, as sharp as my Russian Olive thorns, has preached that a woman who dies pregnant or having babies, is a sinner.

Now Uncle Hyrum looks at me and smiles. He's won and he knows it. "God has given you to me, Kyra Leigh. You will do what He says. What the Prophet says. What I say."

"I take real excellent care of my wives," Uncle Hyrum says when we get to my front porch. He pulls me close to him. His arms are like steel rods. "I'm gentle with the new ones."

My face is bruised, one eye closing shut, both lips busted, split wide-open. I feel that with my tongue."The lesson of the kingdom," Uncle Hyrum says. He wipes his hand on a towel that one of the God Squad brought him. "Be glad it isn't worse, Miss Kyra."

This book was released May 12th, 2009, go out grab a copy and share it with someone else when you're done!!!

Other Reviews:
Booking Mama
Becky's Book Reviews
J. Kaye's Book Blog

I want to also thank Sarah Goldstein at St. Martin's Press for sending me an ARC of this wonderful book and in return I would like to give my copy away as a way to
Read it Forward -
a wonderful idea that has started with Marcia over at The Printed Page.

How to qualify for the Giveaway
  • Just leave me a comment regarding my review. Make sure you also leave me an email address where I can contact you if you win.
  • All readers are welcome to too!!!
  • The giveaway will close on May 20th at 9:00 pm (est).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Library Loot- May 13

Library Loot hosted by Eva and Alessandra
asks us to list what we brought home from
the library this week.

I've been extremely good this week. In fact, over the weekend I took a long hard look at my huge library pile. I had to get real and ask myself how many of these books could I really get done in the amount of time I had them. After careful consideration I returned 9 books.....and then quickly acquired 4 more!! I know what you're thinking...doesn't make sense Staci!! Let me defend myself on one point...3 of them were holds that I THOUGHT I had suspended until August. Not sure why that didn't work but they showed up so I felt like I HAD to take them. The fourth one, Maisie Dobbs, I just had to get. I'd seen so many fantastic reviews of the latest Dobbs novel so I decided that I needed to start at the beginning with this series. Here are the 4 books that I brought home.

Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love edited by Anne Fadiman
--I saw this on someone's blog and felt compelled to read these stories.

Weetzie bat by Francesca Lia Block
--I forgot why I wanted to read this book. I just read on Goodreads a few reviews that described this book as "being on a bad acid trip." Great. I'm not a big fan of weird! Has anyone read this one?

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
- I read and loved Booklogged at A Reader's Journal review of Among the Mad but I can never start a series in the middle so I got the first one.

George and Sam: Two boys, One family, and Autism by Charlotte Moore
-Nick Hornby recommended this one in his book, Polysyllabic Spree. I have to interact with students that have autism and am astounded daily by their unique gifts. Sounds like it's going to be a good read.

To Read List Total today 4/29/2009: 744
Last Week's To Read List total 4/15/2009: 737
Books Read in 2009 to date: 69
Number of Books Checked out from the library: 23

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays and It's Tuesday...Where Are You?

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

She looks down at her stomach, searching to find a likely place, and makes the first cut, waiting for the moment when the pain of the razor erases everything else. It's not happening as fast as it usually does, and her breath comes in little gasps as the razor sinks deeper and deeper into her flesh.
---Willow by Julia Hoban

I'm hurting myself the only way I know how and that's by cutting open my skin to allow it all to come out. I wish I could cry but I can't. I don't allow myself those feelings of sorrow...I don't deserve to feel, why you ask? Because I am a murderer.....I killed my parents.

~ Willow by Julia Hoban

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mailbox Monday- May 11

Mailbox Monday
is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.
We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week.

Here is what I got last week in my mailbox.

Perfection: A Memoir of betrayal and renewal
by Julie Metz
-The whole premise sounds promising...Every wife's worst nightmare. In the aftermath of her husband's death, one woman discovers her life has been a lie. This is the author's own memoir. Should be good!

Valeria's Last Stand
by Marc Fitten
--This one intrigued me because of the eccentric characters. Look forward to reading it!

What came for you in the mail?