Thursday, March 20, 2014

Giveaway! Signed copy of "Don't Even Think About It" by Sarah Mlynowski

Want a signed copy of Sarah Mlynowski's newest book, Don't Even Think About It? Of course you do! You can enter to win below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why I wouldn't want telepathic powers like the kids in "Don't Even Think About It" by Sarah Mlynowski

Sarah Mlynowski has a new book out! I haven't read it yet, but I will very soon. It's called Don't Even Think About It, and it sounds like a lot of fun. Here is a summary, provided by the publisher:

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming.

Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same. So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

To celebrate the release of Don't Even Think About It, I have been asked, along with a bunch of other bloggers, what I would do if I suddenly had telepathic powers. And I can tell you in no uncertain terms, I would hate it.

How difficult would it be just to figure out who was thinking what? If there are a bunch of people around you, the noise must be deafening. All I can think of is Mel Gibson's character in What Women Want, and he could only hear half the population. Or I think about the Noise in The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, which is full of violence and sex. No thank you.

Also, I'm not even sure I want to know what others are thinking. I don't want to risk hearing something terrible from someone I like, or whom I though was a good person. I think I would be sad a lot.

That said, it would be useful to know what, say, my husband was thinking at certain times (maybe not all the time), or any other person I'm speaking to and trying to figure out how to approach a subject.

It would also be really useful during job interviews, and I would totally use it then.

All in all, I can't say telepathy is really something I'd like to have, in its purest form. Speaking to someone in my head and being able to choose what they hear would be great, and being able to turn it on and off would be awesome, but I don't think that's the way it works.

Telekinesis, on the other hand... that is something I could totally get behind.

What would you do if you found you had telepathic powers? (And stay tuned for a giveaway for a signed copy of Don't Even Think About It, which I'll post later this week!)

Disclosure: This post is part of a blog promotion for Sarah Mlynowski's new book, Don't Even Think About It, sponsored by public relations firm Deb Shapiro & Company.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Audiobook review: "Etiquette & Espionage" by Gail Carriger

Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher:   Hachette Audio, 2013 (print available from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Narrator: Moira Quirk

When Sophronia is told she will be sent off to finishing school, she is not pleased. Not at all. However, after a decidedly odd interview with "Mlle Geraldine," it quickly becomes clear that Madame Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is not exactly what it appears to be on the surface. As it turns out, the school is not only a place young girls are trained to become ladies, they are also trained to become intelligencers. Classes include etiquette and how to execute a proper curtsy, as well as the use of seduction, stealth, and proper fighting techniques. In addition to all this knew knowledge, Sophronia and her friends do some intelligencing of their own regarding a missing prototype, an older schoolmate who failed to Finish and has been sent to study with the debuts, and other mysterious activity.

This first book in Gail Carriger's new series for teens is just delightful. Fans of her adult series, Soulless, would be well advised to pick this one up as well. Who can resist a fine comedy of manners mixed together with steam technology, the art of espionage, how to manipulate and obtain information, all while still being presentable for afternoon tea or ready to dance a quadrille at a ball? Oh yes, mustn't forget the werewolves and vampires. This book has action and humor in spades.

Sophronia herself is an excellent heroine, and a character I look forward to watching develop over the course of the next books in the series. She's resourceful, intelligent, has a good heart, and does not shy away from getting her hands dirty if necessary. I loved a lot of the secondary characters too, namely the sootie Soap, the young French engineer Vieve (age 9), and the loyal and easily scandalized Dimity (who also, I might add, is the daughter of evil geniuses and describes herself as "a good girl," to their chagrin).

Honestly, I think I like this one more than Soulless, though that might be because I listened to the excellent narration by Moira Quirk. Her accents and inflections completely made this for me, and I would highly recommend that anyone who had trouble getting into this series try the audio. This is one of the 2014 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults for a reason.

Disclosure: I downloaded this audiobook through my local library and OverDrive.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book review: "No One Else Can Have You" by Kathleen Hale

Title: No One Else Can Have You
Author: Kathleen Hale
Publisher: HarperTeen, 2014

I have to admit, I was sold on this book when I saw the cover. It pretty much perfectly sums up the book's contents. I've read people comparing this book to Fargo, which I can't speak to since I haven't seen it, but from what I've read about it that's probably accurate. Personally I was reminded more of the movie Hot Fuzz while I was reading this.

Eighteen-year-old Ruth Fried is found brutally murdered in a cornfield, stuffed like a scarecrow and hanged from a tree, "like a buck on a basketball hoop" (p 43). This shakes up Friendship, Wisconsin, a small town where nothing bad ever happens. The local law enforcement is used to saving pets, not investigating murders. Everyone is pleasant and polite but not overly friendly or close. Eventually Ruth's boyfriend is incarcerated and charged with her murder, but once Ruth's mother gives Kippy, our narrator, Ruth's diary and she begins to read it, she starts thinking things don't add up. Especially when Ruth's brother Davey voices his doubts as well.

Kippy Bushman is incredibly awkward and naive. However, she is aware of this, which makes her kind of endearing. She knows she's got diarrhea of the mouth and does a lot of "blurting," a word Hale uses frequently, but her heart is in the right place. Even if she does tend to bite people sometimes. She begins nosing around, with Davey's help, and starts uncovering a lot of unsavory secrets her small town is hiding.

I'm not going to lie, things get pretty freaking bleak at a few points in this novel. At one point I wasn't sure how Kippy was even going to prove anything to the local law enforcement, considering they were feeling like the case was closed, mostly because of personal vendettas. God bless her, she keeps it up.

I loved a lot of the secondary characters, like the people in the Non-Violent Communication Group, especially Mildred the lunch lady. Unbalanced but completely willing to help (and break the law).

Basically this book is the whole package. There is a lot of awkward humor, a terrifying murder, a compelling mystery that keeps you guessing—I had my suspicions but they kept going back and forth—and great characters. I think I will be nominating this for a Morris Award, it is that good. I would recommend this for older teens as there is a lot of language, but boy howdy, if you're looking for a fun, gritty mystery full of small-town charm and terror, this is the one for you, you betcha.

Disclaimer: I got this book from my local library.
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