Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Embrace Jessica Shirvington's action-packed novel

I constantly heard the praise for Embrace by Jessica Shirvington and because there were so many other books on top of it in my to-be-read pile, it kept getting put off. However, I'm happy to say, when it did make its way to the top of my pile, it didn't stand a chance and I wish this was one I had dived into sooner.

On her 17th birthday, Violet Eden receives a strange gift from her mother. Being that her mom died during her birth, Violet's dad passes the gift on as he was instructed. Violet doesn't think much of the handwritten letter and poem until she unveils a secret that will change her life forever. I mean, it's not everyday you learn you're an angel and you have the decision to embrace it or not. Throw in a love triangle, and a battle between good and evil, and you have the perfect summer (or anytime read).

I'm not a huge fan of fantasies and as soon as I heard this novel was full of fallen angels, I must admit...I might have let out a little cringe. However, this book had me as soon as I realized it was more of a Lara Croft, action-packed adventure. Violet Eden is a true warrior from her training to her battles versus the Exiles. And the love triangle? Let's just say there's just enough twists, turns and emotions that will have any reader choosing Violet's path. The novel is well-written, perfectly paced, and I'm anxiously awaiting the next two books, Enticed and Emblaze.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire; 1 edition (March 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1402268408
ISBN-13: 978-1402268403
Source of review copy: Publicist
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: May 25th

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop: Win 3 Young Adult Novels

Welcome to the SPLASH INTO SUMMER Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, and the Page Turners blog. I don't know about you, but I'm geared up for some sun, surf and sand and to help spread the fun of summer, the above blogs are hosting a giveaway hop! You will find lots of variety among the prizes and it all takes place from Friday, May 25th to Thursday, May 31st.

Here at Lori Calabrese Writes!, I'm happy to offer up 1 pack of 3 young adult novels, perfect to dive into on that beach lounge chair!

WANDERLOVE by Kirsten Hubbard (hardcover) 18-year-old Bria has just broken up with her boyfriend and after planning a trip abroad together, she is determined to still go. Her two friends back out, but Bria believes it's a prophecy when she's handed a Global Vagabonds pamphlet. She heads off to Guatemala with a tourist group, but realizes that hanging out with a group of middle-aged tourists isn't going to help her find herself. She meets a girl named Starling and her brother Rowan, and before you know it, Bria is leaving the group for one unforgettable backpacking adventure.
SWEET EVIL by Wendy Higgins (paperback) Embrace the Forbidden. What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels. Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
THE TEMPTATION by Alisa Valdes (paperback) His touch was electric. His eyes were magnetic. His lips were a temptation. . . . But was he real? Shane is near death after crashing her car on a long stretch of empty highway in rural New Mexico when she is miraculously saved by a mysterious young man who walks out of nowhere. She feels an instant energy between them, both a warmth that fills her soul and a tingle that makes her shiver. But who, or what, is he? For the first time in her life, she believes in the term "soul mates"—Travis is her destiny, and she is his. But she soon discovers that Travis is dead and strict rules govern kindred spirits of different dimensions. Even a kiss could destroy both their souls. And while Travis is almost impossible to resist, temptation proves to be the kindest enemy they encounter.

Giveaway Details:
Enter to win all 3 of these books! To enter giveaway, please click on the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway closes at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 1st and is available to US only. Good luck and don't forget to visit the blogs listed below for even more great giveaways!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Many different animals eat bat poop!

What kid isn't intrigued by bats and caves?

In HOME IN THE CAVE by award winning author Janet Halfmann, young readers will enjoy the story of Baby Bat who wants to learn more about his home. One night, Baby Bat practices flying, but when he falls, he's rescued by Pluribus Packrat. From there, they go on an exciting journey that takes young readers through the deepest, darkest corners of a cave. Meet some of the animals that call the cave home and learn how important bats are to the ecosystem.

Young readers will especially enjoy learning that many different animals eat bat poop, technically known as guano. Gross, yes, but an important fact in the habitat and something that will have creative minds reading on.

A "Creative Minds" section at the end of the book provides activities and more information on all things nocturnal. As with all other Halfmann books, the story provides an entertaining backdrop for an educational experience, sure to delight any young reader on the search for science.

Additional Information:
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing (February 10, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1607185229
ISBN-13: 978-1607185222
Source of review copy: author
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: May 18

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

An online newspaper devoted to children's books

If you're a children's book writer, chances are you've stumbled upon The CBI Clubhouse. The CBI Clubhouse is a vibrant community of children's book writers and the site offers all of the tips and training a writer needs to be successful. In addition to their activity online community, and informative newsletter, The CBI Clubhouse just introduced Children's Books Today, an online newspaper covering the world of children's books -- and it updates twice a day.

To be a successful writer, it's important to stay on top of the latest news and trends, so be sure to visit and subscribe, so you don't miss a new edition.

Best part?  It's completely free, so enjoy.  Here's the link:

http://paper.li/CBIClubhouse/1336427770

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Introduce young readers to American history

Mitt Romney. Barack Obama. The presidential race is on and we're bombarded with polls, commercials, and political ads pitting the two candidates against each other. So why not use the opportunity to teach young readers about our country, civic duty and what makes our nation so special? Two books that do just that are WOODROW FOR PRESIDENT: A TAIL OF VOTING, CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS and LIBERTY LEE'S TAIL OF INDEPENDENCE.

In Woodrow for President: A Tail of Voting, Campaigns, and Elections, young readers will be fascinated to learn the presidential election process from start to finish as they follow a fascinating character, Woodrow G. Washingtail. Woodrow worked hard in school, graduated college, and before you know it, his friends are encouraging him to run for town council. Woodrow works his way up the political ladder from mayor to senator to governor to president. But the presidential election is unlike any other and the book dives into forming a campaign, seeking volunteers, setting up election headquarters, picking a political party, debating, voting and more. At the "Tail End" of the book, you'll find resources for parents and teachers, additional information and activities and even a contract to vote! What I love about this book is that it's written in rhyme and although it tackles such a difficult subject, everything is written so it's easily understood by a 5 to 8 year old. The illustrations add to the fun and you might just find your young reader wanting to get out there and do his part!
  • Reading level: Ages 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Little Patriot Press (May 21, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1596987863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596987869

In Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence, young readers learn the "tail" of America's birth. This time, our star is a patriotic mouse named Liberty Lee who takes us back more than 400 years to meet the first settlers. Young readers are introduced to the colonies, the Boston tea party, the American Revolution, and the Declaration of Independence. At the "Tail End" of the book, parents and teachers will find a list of resources to further the discussion. This book is a fun way to introduce kids not only to our history, but the importance of our freedom and independence and told in rhyme, this story turns history class into a fun-filled adventure.

  • Reading level: Ages 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Little Patriot Press (May 22, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1596987928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596987920

Both of these books are great resources for any parent or teacher looking to teach young readers about what makes America so great!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Have you ever dreamed of a backpacking adventure?

Many teens (okay, adults, too!) dream of escaping their lives and heading off for an unforgettable backpacking adventure in another country. In the Young Adult novel WANDERLOVE, Kristen Hubbard captures that journey for all of us to experience.

18-year-old Bria has just broken up with her boyfriend and after planning a trip abroad together, she is determined to still go. Her two friends back out, but Bria believes it's a prophecy when she's handed a Global Vagabonds pamphlet. She heads off to Guatemala with a tourist group, but realizes that hanging out with a group of middle-aged tourists isn't going to help her find herself. She meets a girl named Starling and her brother Rowan, and before you know it, Bria is leaving the group for one unforgettable backpacking adventure.

Along the way, Bria digs deep into self-discovery, independence and self-confidence. Yes, there's romance and more as this is an adventure that will have you reaching for your backpack, on the search for your own Global Vagabonds pamphlet! Not only will teens relate to Bria as she's trying to find herself, going through big changes, and attempting to rediscover her passion, they'll appreciate the realization that we all need to tackle our own adventures every now and then, so we can move forward and discover ourselves.

Hubbard has written a beautiful story--one perfect to curl up with over the summer on a lounge chair. Since Wanderlove is about celebrating favorite places, Hubbard has even turned the Wanderlove website (www.wanderlove.com) into a place to upload and chat about your own hidden destinations, so be sure to visit and upload your own photo!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 13, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0385739370
ISBN-13: 978-0385739375
Source of review copy: publicist
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: May 11

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Experience the rain without having to get wet

If you live in the Northeast, chances are you feel as though you're Noah and you should be building your ark. We've been hammered with rain during the last week, and if you have little ones, you know how restless they can get having to stay inside. So why not take the opportunity to teach them about rain with Mayra Calvani's latest book, THE WATER CYCLE: WATER PLAY SERIES BOOK 1?

In  THE WATER CYCLE, young readers will be fascinated to learn that water droplets form in the clouds and when the clouds can't hold them up, they fall and turn to rain. Then follow along as the rain fills the sidewalks with puddles, turns into a flood, goes into a station called a reservoir where we get our drinking water from, and ends up in the ocean. Young readers will also learn about hail, how the water droplets turn into snowflakes, how it can become a blizzard and how water vapor rises into the air, only to start the entire process all over again.

This is a difficult topic, however, Calvani presents it in a way that makes it fun and easy to comprehend for young readers. Bright illustrations help convey the message, interactive questions are scattered along various pages, and you can keep the kids busy with some fun activities at the back of the book. So the next time you're stuck inside because of the rain, pick up your copy of THE WATER CYCLE and experience the rain without having to get wet.

Additional Information:
Paperback: 20 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (March 15, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1616332379
ISBN-13: 978-1616332372
Source of review copy: Publicist
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jeff Kinney proves he's not so wimpy after all


The Children’s Book Council (CBC) in association with Every Child a Reader (ECAR), announced the winners of the fifth annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Monday night at a charity gala in New York City. What's unique about The Children's Choice Book Awards is that the winning titles are selected by children and teens of all ages and this year, there were a record-breaking 900,000 submissions!

Launched in 2008 by the Children's Book Council and Every Child A Reader (The CBC Foundation), The Children’s Choice Book Awards program was created to provide young readers with an opportunity to voice their opinions about the books being written for them and to help develop a reading list that will motivate children to read more and cultivate a love of reading.

Wimpy Kid series author and illustrator Jeff Kinney was crowned “Author of the Year," making this the second year in a row that a middle grade author won the category.

You can check out full video coverage of the Gala at The Children's Book Council website and a list of the winners are below...

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year
Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Henry Cole (Peachtree)

Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year

Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook/Macmillan

Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Teen Book of the Year

Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices, Book Two by Cassandra Clare (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster)

Author of the Year

Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever (Amulet Books/Abrams)

Illustrator of the Year

Brian Selznick for Wonderstruck (Scholastic)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak dies

It's a sad day in the world of children's books as Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, passed away today at the age of 83.

Maurice Sendak had many highly acclaimed books such as Chicken Soup with Rice and In the Night Kitchen and illustrated Ruth Krauss' A Hole Is To Dig and Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear.

Sendak was a pioneer in the world of children's publishing as he wrote books that were deeply imaginative and pushed the limits with dark plots that involved monsters wanting to eat you up!

Sendak recently reflected on his life to NPR...

"I have nothing now but praise for my life," Sendak said. "I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can't stop them. They leave me and I love them more. ... What I dread is the isolation. ... There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready."

Although Sendak's resume went far beyond children's book author, creating costumes for ballets and operas and designing the Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Nutcracker," Sendak will be forever known for his contribution to children's lit.

"I write books as an old man, but in this country you have to be categorized, and I guess a little boy swimming in the nude in a bowl of milk (as in `In the Night Kitchen') can't be called an adult book," he told The Associated Press in 2003. "So I write books that seem more suitable for children, and that's OK with me. They are a better audience and tougher critics."

Although he's passed, Sendak will continue to bring life to a world of imagination as the New York Times reports that a posthumous picture book, "My Brother's Book," will be out next February.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Celebrate Children's Book Week 2012


Children's books deserve their due, so how about dedicating a whole entire week to them? It's Children's Book week this week (May 7th- 123th) and nationwide, there are so many events taking place to honor the books you've grown up with and the ones you're reading with your children now. Be sure to visit your local library to find out what events are taking place in your town.

  • Check out the line-up of Official Book Week events! Over 40 cities are hosting author and illustrator events during Book Week (May 7-13, 2012)! For example, South Milwaukee always celebrates in style and this year is no different. At the South Milwaukee Public Library on May 9th, three authors and an illustrator will inspire kids to read, write and draw. The Dream Big program will feature Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook, and South Milwaukee's own Janet Halfmann who will read her latest book, Home in the Cave.
  • Each year, the Children's Book Council enlists illustrators to design a commemorative Children's Book Week Poster and Bookmark. Download the 2012 Book Week bookmark by Lane Smith and order your 2012 Poster by David Wiesner!
  • It's also the final countdown to the winners of the Children's Choice Book Award Winners who will be announced live at the Children's Choice Book Awards gala in New York City. Finalists include Pirates Don't Take Baths by John Segal and Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel.
  • For Children’s Book Week, Sylvan Dell Publishing will be offering all 70 of their titles’ eBooks free on their website for families, educators, and students to read and explore! Sylvan Dell authors will also be appearing at events nationwide all week long! See listings here.
  • There are many online celebrations as well. Check out the 2nd Annual Children’s Book Week Spotlight on Mymcbooks Blog, Hosted by Mymcbooks! Over 200 book blogs will each host a book giveaway in celebration of Children's Book Week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: May 4

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

And you think they lived happily ever after

From Monday, April 30th through Monday, May 14th, author Christopher Healy will be touring the blogosphere to talk about his children's debut novel The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and I'm excited that today's the day, I take a look at the book I dub 'not your typical fairy tale.'

Just check out the cover to the left and you can already tell this is an amazing book. So you think you already know the stories of Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty? Well, you thought wrong! Christopher Healy dives into the worlds of the men behind these fairy tales. You only know them as Prince Charming, however in The Hero's Guide, we learn things you could never imagine about Prince Liam, Prince Frederic, Prince Duncan, and Prince Gustav. I'm sure you've read the classic fairytales, but do you think they lived "happily ever after?" Turns out Cinderella found life in the castle quite boring, the prince who tried to rescue Rapunzel is a laughing stock in his town, Liam who woke Sleeping Beauty doesn't really like her after all and the marriage of Prince Duncan and Snow White is a little rocky to say the least. Things really get exciting when the princes meet and set off on another adventure to save the kingdom from Rapunzel's evil witch. They'll take on bandits, trolls, and yes, a dragon! Could you ask for anything more?

I absolutely loved this book and would place it as one of my fave mid-grade books of the year. I mean who would have ever thought to continue these classic fairytales we all know so well? Genius! Pure Genius. Middle-graders will love the humor, the adventure, and the various personalities you'd find in a fairytale. Even though we learn Prince Charming might not be all he's cracked up to be, we also discover that the princesses are pretty strong and independent. Now this is your contemporary fairytale!

As part of the blog tour, I'm excited to announce that Walden Pond Press is giving away a copy of The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom to one of my lucky readers! Just fill out the rafflecopter form below and you're automatically entered!