Author Archives: Sara | Novel Novice

Book Review: Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects

book reviews banner2
My how duct tape craft projects have changed since I was a teenager. When I was in high school, duct tape came in only one color — silver. And the idea of using it for nontraditional craft projects was still fairly new and had not yet captivated mainstream media. I knew a few friends who made duct tape wallets, but that was about it. I took it upon myself to go a bit further: constructing various tote bags and purses. Then a necktie for my dad. Then a ballgown skirt, because I could.

sticky fingersMy work surface was the floor of my bedroom, old hardwoods in desperate need of refinishing, so my mom didn’t care that I was laying strips and strips of duct tape across the floorboards.

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects by Sophie Maletsky shows just how far duct tape projects have come in a little over ten years.

These days, duct tape can be found not only at your local hardware store — but in your craft store, too, and now in an abundant array of colors and even patterns. (There is such a thing as Spider-Man Duct Tape. Who knew?)

Sticky Fingers starts with a section covering the basics of duct tape crafting — how to make sheets of duct tape “fabric,” appropriate work surfaces (better options than my old hardwood floors), and how to incorporate other materials (even other kinds of tape) into your projects.

The projects then go on to start with the basics — like the now-classic duct tape wallet — and takes readers beyond into far more complicated, creative, and colorful creations. The projects include pretty embellishments, like tassels, bows, and flowers. More advanced creations include a tablet case, a messenger bag, and even some really cool-looking jewelry.

Sticky Fingers is in many ways a nostalgia trip for me (and a reminder of how old I am!) — but is also a refreshing zing of inspiration. Where can I get all those colorful rolls of duct tape again?

Oh, yes. The craft store down the street …

Sticky Fingers is in stores now. Pick up your copy today & get inspired!

The Bridge from Me to You: Verse Novels

Bridge_botm_banner
Lisa Schroeder is one of the best YA verse novelists around, in my book — and her latest, The Bridge from Me to You uniquely combines verse with prose in alternating chapters.

the day beforeNew to verse novels? Here’s a brief definition of them, plus a list of some other YA verse novels you should check out!

Verse Novels

A verse novel is a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through the medium of poetry rather than prose. Either simple or complex stanzaic verse-forms may be used, but there will usually be a large cast, multiple voices, dialogue, narration, description, and action in a novelistic manner. (Source)

You might consider The Odyssey and The Illiad classic versions of verse novels (though they are typically referred to as “epic poems.”)

chasing brooklynYA Verse Novels – by Lisa Schroeder

  • I Heart You, You Haunt Me
  • Chasing Brooklyn
  • Far From You
  • The Day Before

YA Verse Novels

  • Crank (and other books) by Ellen Hopkins
  • Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
  • The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  • The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
  • Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay
  • Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
  • Frenchtown Summer by Robert Cormier

For the comments: What are some other YA verse novels you’d recommend?

 

GoneReading.com: The Perfect Place to Shop for Book Lovers

features
Most reviews here at Novel Novice are for books — but let’s face it. Even the most diehard reader needs to surface from the pages of a book sometime. And when we do return to the real world, we want to cling to our love of books and share it with the world.

That’s where GoneReading.com comes in — the perfect online place to shop for book lovers everywhere.

book plattersWhat’s that? You’re in need of a snack? Why not dish up a tasty treat on one of these adorable book-shaped plates. Made of bright-white porcelain, these plates and platters are sturdy and solid. Not only perfect for dishing up snacks for your book club meeting, the smaller pieces are also great as valet trays or a place to hold assorted nick-knacks, like paperclips, loose change, etc.

Mark-Twain-Travel-Tin-Candle-300x300Maybe you long for the smell of the library when you’re cooped up at home reading? GoneReading.com has a fabulous collection of literary-inspired candles and scents. Don’t worry, the candles don’t actually smell like unwashed old men … I received a sample of the Mark Twain candle, and it’s divine. (My husband loved it, too!) A blend of tobacco flower and vanilla, it’s a unique but lovely scent and not at all overpowering. I’m eager to try out more of this collection, too … I think Oscar Wilde is next on my wish list!

My-Bibliofile-300x300GoneReading also has a great assortment of book journals, for you to keep track of your reading habits offline. (I know, what a concept, right?) As much as I love blogging and social media, there is something so lovely about hand-writing lists and notes and details about things you love — especially when it’s on nice paper in a pretty, bound journal. GoneReading’s assortment includes “My Bibliofile,” which is a wonderful diary-type book for folks who want to keep track of their thoughts on the books they read offline. It features many pages for writing reviews (complete with the option of filling out how many stars), interspersed with fun interactive pages where you can answer questions about things like your favorite authors, favorite quotes, and travel destinations inspired by books you’ve read. As an avid gone reading review itemsbook blogger, I can’t see myself using this particular journal much, since it would be like rewriting all my blog posts by hand! But for non-bloggers, it’s a great template for keeping track of what you read and your thoughts on each book. (The “Books to Check Out” journal would probably be a better choice for me, since I’m always making lists of books I want to buy/borrow/request/read.)

Besides these three items (which I received for review), GoneReading.com offers plenty more for book lovers to drool over. I’ve already added a ton of items to my “wish list” board on Pinterest (where my husband looks first when he’s shopping for my birthday, Christmas, or other gift-giving occasion). There are cute t-shirts, an assortment of adorable bookmarks and bookplates, unique bookshelves, book-ish home decor, and more.

So if you love reading and love telling the world about your love of reading — check out GoneReading.com and start making your OWN wish list.

New YA Releases: August 19, 2014

new releases2 banner
Here’s a look at some of today’s new YA releases:

false futureFalse Future by Dan Krokos

True Earth has returned during a massive snowstorm in Manhattan-and this time they have an army. Rhys, Noble, Sophia, and Peter know they don’t stand a chance against the enemy without Miranda. And once they revive her, she’s horrified to find her world in flames.

The enemy occupation is brutal, but the director promises to release her hold on the city if Mr. East is turned in, and Miranda and her team are determined to find him. With her grief over the losses she has suffered fueling her spirit, Miranda knows that this time the sacrifices have to be worth it.

Packed with suspense and deception, Dan Krokos brings Miranda’s journey to a mind-bending conclusion as she risks losing everything in the fight for her future.

starlight's edgeStarlight’s Edge by Susan Waggoner

Zee has given up her entire world to be with David on far-future Earth, confident that their love will overcome all obstacles. But beneath its lustrous surface and dazzling technology, New Earth is full of challenges, including the animosity of David’s wealthy and powerful family.

As Zee struggles to find her place, David travels back to past Earth. Then, on a mission to Pompeii on the eve of the Vesuvius eruption, he vanishes. Zee knows he is in mortal danger, but will she be able to rescue him in time?

For the comments: Which of today’s new YA releases are you most excited about?

The Bridge from Me to You Quote Graphics

Bridge_botm_banner
Lisa Schroeder’s The Bridge from Me to You is packed with beautiful quotes. So to showcase some of these quotes, I’ve created some original graphics featuring some of my favorite passages overlaid with photos I’ve taken of the places throughout Oregon similar to the locations featured in The Bridge from Me to You. Enjoy!

bridge quote1 bridge quote2 bridge quote3 bridge quote4 bridge quote5
For the comments: What are some of your favorite quotes from The Bridge from Me to You and Lisa’s other books?

July 2014 Contest Winners

contests giveaways banner

Time to round-up the winners of our assorted July contests. Congrats to all the winners, and be sure to check out our current contests for more chances to win great prizes!

Deady Delicious Giveaway

deadly delicious banner
Our U.S. winner receives a signed paperback copy of Deadly Delicious from author K.L. Kincy: Victoria Zumbrum

And our int’l winner receives an e-book of Deadly Delicious: Mary Preston

The Family Romanov Giveaway

family romanov

One winner receives a copy of The Family Romanov courtesy of Random House: Lisa Ahlstedt

Homeroom Diaries Contest

homeroom diaries
One winner receives “The Happiness Project” prize pack — which includes copies of Homeroom Diaries, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, Confessions of a Murder Suspect, and First Love: Victoria Zumbrum

Squish + Comics Squad Contest

squish fear the amoeba comics squad

One winner will receive copies of Squish #6: Fear the Amoeba and Comics Squad: Recess! courtesy of illustrator Matt Holm: Natasha Donohoo

Brazen Historical Writing Contest

brazen botm banner
For this writing contest, we asked you to choose a moment in history — a person or time from the past — and imagine what really happened. What are some of the details that may not have survived time? That we don’t know about today?

The winner is … Mackenzi Lee! Congrats, and here is her winning entry about Mary and Percy Shelley:

When we lit the funeral pyre around Percy Shelley, his heart did not burn.

His skin melted, muscles and bones collapsed and crumbled into something I could have brushed on my skin and run between my fingers, his heart remained behind, stubborn and smoldering, but refusing to catch.

We had been standing on the beach for hours, watching his body turn to smoke that the wind wrapped into wispy clouds and pushed away across the lake. I tipped my head backwards and through the haze I could see the stars, faint and pale like salt spread in handfuls across that velvet darkness. The first time I had kissed Shelley it had been dark like this. Dark and hazy, but I had never felt so bright.

It was Byron who finally reached into the flames and withdrew Shelley’s unburned heart. His fingers were black with ash, and as he held the heart before him, it seemed to me an artifact of a lost civilization. A left behind thing from a body gone to God, though Shelley would have been sick if he knew I had thought of God at his funeral.

Beside me, Claire let go a quiet moan, and her trembling grew suddenly violent, as though it were her husband’s heart in Byron’s hand instead of mine. Her fingers clenched vise-tight around my arm. The crepe puckered under her nails.

Byron passed the heart to John, who held it in a way that was somehow tender and terrified, the same way he had always handled Shelley, before he passed it off to Claire. She took it, just for a moment, and clutched it close enough that it left a black smear across the starched material stretched tight across her stomach. She let go one sob, a ravaged caw like a gull’s, and then my husband’s heart was in my hands. I looked down at it, black and gelatinous, scarred by the flames of his funeral pyre, or perhaps the scars had been there all along. It felt hard, like a bone.

It is only now that I realize we passed the heart in the order in which we died.

Byron was the next to go after Shelley. He died young and lonely and fever-mad in Greece.

Then John, who hung himself from a balcony in France.

Then Claire, whose soul went into the ground with her little daughter.

I am what is left of us, waiting alone with only the feeling of my husband’s heart between my fingers and the prickling memories that stab me every time I shift of once running young and barefoot and happy on that same beach where we burned his body.

All these years, and I still have the heart. I wrapped it in his love letters and kept it in my drawer.

The Bridge from Me to You Preorder Contest

bridge from me to you preorder
Everyone who entered this contest will be receiving a signed bookplate from author Lisa Schroeder and a bookmark. We also offered up some additional prize packs, and the winners of each prize pack are listed below:

  • Signed copies of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson & To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: Ivan Shellenbarger
  • The Book of Broken Hearts and Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: Becca Rackley
  • Signed copies of Illusions and Destined by Aprilynne Pike: Anne Campbell
  • Signed copies of Hereafter by Tara Hudson and Die for Me by Amy Plum: Kianna Ramirez
  • Signed copies of Perfect and Triangles by Ellen Hopkins: Daisy Richeson
  • ARCS of Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott, Rain by Amanda Sun, How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark, and Far From You by Tess Sharpe: Jennifer Malphy

Congrats to ALL our winners! Look for the August contest winners to be announced sometime in September.

Exclusive Q&A with The Bridge from Me to You author Lisa Schroeder – Part 3

Bridge_botm_banner

Today, we bring you part 3 of our exclusive Q&A with The Bridge from Me to You author Lisa Schroeder … FLASH QUESTIONS! If you missed it, catch part 1 here and part 2 here.

lisa schroederFavorite decade?

I think I have to go with the 80s.

Must-have writing snack?

Tea.

Favorite Disney movie?

The Aristocats

The beach or the mountains?

Both!

Song that can always get you dancing?

“Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince

Name 5 things currently on your desk (or in your writing space).

  1. Mother’s Day card from my youngest son
  2. chapstick
  3. a fabric cupcake
  4. too many notebooks
  5. a turtle a fan made me.

Book Review: Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

book reviews banner2
Adventure, freedom, and the enormity of growing up are at the heart of Katherine Rundell’s beautifully charged new novel, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms.

cartwheeling in thunderstormsEven a life on the untamed plains of Africa can’t prepare Wilhelmina for the wilds of an English boarding school in this lovely and lyrical novel from the author of Rooftoppers, which Booklist called “a glorious adventure.”

Wilhelmina Silver’s world is golden. Living half-wild on an African farm with her horse, her monkey, and her best friend, every day is beautiful. But when her home is sold and Will is sent away to boarding school in England, the world becomes impossibly difficult. Lions and hyenas are nothing compared to packs of vicious schoolgirls. Where can a girl run to in London? And will she have the courage to survive?

From the author of the “witty, inventively poetic” Rooftoppers comes an utterly beautiful story that’s sure to be treasured.

I was immediately captivated by Will’s life on the African farm — the freedom and feeling of joy she finds in each little corner of her world. I could feel, smell, taste her world — the dust, the food, the animals, the savannah. Will’s Africa came to life for me within the pages of Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms – so much so, that like Will, I felt cooped up and trapped by the stark contrast she faced in her English school.

With echoes of A Little Princess, Rundell uses Will’s experience being forced from her home in Africa to a constrictive school in London to illustrate the harshness of growing up. The fear that we will lose ourselves in trying to become who society wants us to be.

But ultimately, the message of Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms is liberating and reassuring. Yes, we have to make sacrifices in life. Yes, growing up is hard and sometimes painful. But it does not mean letting go of the past; of who you are. It is about a shift in how you approach the world; in facing the change you can’t escape while remaining true to yourself.

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms is in stores August 26th.

Book Review: Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais

book reviews banner2
A challenging story about mental illness and misguided love, Breaking Butterflies by M. Angelais is a captivating, if unsettling story about two teens who should never have been forced together.

breaking butterfliesThe closest he will ever come to happiness is when he’s hurting her. Will she let him? A beautiful and twisted story of first love and innocence lost–written when the author was just eighteen.

Sphinxie and Cadence. Promised to each other in childhood. Drawn together again as teens. Sphinxie is sweet, compassionate, and plain. Cadence is brilliant, charismatic. Damaged. And diseased. When they were kids, he scarred her with a knife. Now, as his illness progresses, he becomes increasingly demanding. She wants to be loyal–but fears for her life. Only the ultimate sacrifice will give this love an ending.

Angelais has tackled a tricky subject, with Cadence’s sociopathy at the heart of the story’s conflict. And the dangerous thread of his personality is a current that carries the story along, and keeps the reader on edge — wondering if, when he’ll snap. (And he does snap.)

But despite this captivating pull — the story is difficult to read. It is disturbing — not so much because of Cadence’s sociopathy (after all, his violent and emotionless tendencies are explained by his mental illness) — but because of Sphinx’s continued loyalty to him. She admits she is afraid of him; admits she knows he is mentally unwell (as well as physically ill, as he is suffering from leukemia) — and admits that she is afraid of him. Even afraid that being with him could kill her.

And yet. She continues to remain by his side; by her own choice and her own actions, she stays with him — knowingly putting herself in danger. And it is this conscious choice that makes Breaking Butterflies such a difficult read. Because the real question isn’t what’s wrong with Cadence? (We know. He’s a sociopath.) But what’s wrong with Sphinx? Because by her own account, she is just a normal, boring girl … but one who willingly puts herself at the whims of a violent boy, who has already caused her physical harm and clearly states his intentions to do so again.

It’s this choice that makes the story hard to read; because any normal person would stay away from Cadence. It doesn’t matter that he is dying; Cadence is also mentally unwell and that makes him dangerous. Sphinx’s perpetual insistence that she stay by his side is unacceptable for such a supposedly normal character. As the narrator, she is endlessly frustrating, as she continues to explore Cadence’s mental illness — and excuse his dangerous behavior.

Cadence is a disturbing character. But in many ways, I found Sphinx to be more disturbing because of her readiness to give herself over to Cadence’s dangerous, violent, even deadly whims.

Breaking Butterflies is in stores August 26th.

Contest: Win an If I Stay Movie Prize Pack

movie adaptations banner

To celebrate the release of the big-screen adaptation of Gayle Foreman’s best-selling novel If I Stay, in theaters Friday, August 22nd, we have an AMAZING prize pack to give away to one lucky reader!

if_i_stay_xlgMia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz) thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley).  But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance.  Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.  “If I Stay,” Gayle Forman’s best-selling novel, comes to the screen on Friday, August 22.

To celebrate, we’re giving one lucky winner the chance to take home this fabulous prize pack:

  • Alternative Apparel Farra Inside Out French Terry Hoodie in Pink
  • Light Blue Backpack
  • Metal Cello Bookmark on Card
  • Set of Three 3.5″ x 5″ Notebooks with Custom Paper Wrap
  • Silver Plated Charm Bracelet
  • 10″ x 8″ Metal Chalkboard with 4 Magnets and Chalk
  • 16″X16″ “If I Stay” Tote Bag
  • “If I Stay” Soundtrack CD

IIS_Group

Black handles

"Above all else, If I Stay is the story of a great love formed on a foundation of music. When Adam stands mesmerized in the high school hallway as Mia practices Bach’s Prelude, when Mia watches Adam and his band perform I Want What You Have, each sees the other and knows the other—and they connect with each other in ways that neither has ever experienced before.  These two teenagers who on the surface couldn’t be more different, are in fact deeply similar. And music is the reason why." - R.J. Cutler

“Above all else, If I Stay is the story of a great love formed on a foundation of music. When Adam stands mesmerized in the high school hallway as Mia practices Bach’s Prelude, when Mia watches Adam and his band perform I Want What You Have, each sees the other and knows the other—and they connect with each other in ways that neither has ever experienced before. These two teenagers who on the surface couldn’t be more different, are in fact deeply similar. And music is the reason why.” – R.J. Cutler

Learn more about If I Stay and stay connected on the official website, Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, be the first to know & sign up for Warner Bros. special offers, updates & more:

WB_signup_banner_400x150

HOW TO ENTER

Comment below & tell us why you’re excited about the If I Stay movie, then fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE for even more chances to win!

The Rules: 

  • U.S. only
  • Must use the Rafflecopter form to enter
  • Please note add’l rules at the bottom of this post
  • Contest runs through midnight (PT) on Monday, August 25th.

 More about If I Stay:

Gayle Forman’s best-selling novel comes to the screen in New Line Cinema’s and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ drama “If I Stay,” starring Chloë Grace Moretz (“Carrie,” the “Kick-Ass” films), Mireille Enos (TV’s “The Killing,” “World War Z”), Joshua Leonard (“Higher Ground”), Jamie Blackley (“Snow White and the Huntsmen”) and Stacy Keach (“Nebraska”).

Mia Hall (Moretz) thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Blackley).  But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance.  Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.

Rounding out the main cast are Liana Liberato , Aisha Hinds, Jakob Davies and Gabrielle Rose.

R.J. Cutler directed the film from a screenplay by Shauna Cross based on Forman’s novel.  “If I Stay” is produced by Alison Greenspan, with Denise DiNovi, Forman and Brad Van Arragon serving as executive producers.

Cutler’s behind-the-scenes team included cinematographer John de Borman, production designer Brent Thomas, editor Keith Henderson, costume designer Monique Prudhomme and composer Heitor Pereira.

Slated for release on August 22, 2014, “If I Stay” is a presentation of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.

This film has been rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material.

Add’l rules for this contest:

RELEASE AND INDEMNIFICATION:
BY ENTERING THE SWEEPSTAKES, ENTRANTS RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND EACH OF ITS RESPECTIVE PARENTS, DIVISIONS, AFFILIATES    SUBSIDIARIES, AGENTS AND ADVERTISING AGENCIES (COLLECTIVELY, “WBEI”) FROM AND AGAINST ANY AND ALL LOSSES, DAMAGES, RIGHTS, CLAIMS, AND ACTIONS OF ANY KIND ARISING IN WHOLE OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, FROM THE SWEEPSTAKES OR PARTICIPATION IN ANY SWEEPSTAKES-RELATED ACTIVITY (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE REMOVAL FROM THE SITE OF, OR DISCONTINUATION OF ACCESS TO, ANY MATERIALS), OR RESULTING DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, FROM ACCEPTANCE, POSSESSION, USE, OR MISUSE OF ANY PRIZE AWARDED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SWEEPSTAKES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION PERSONAL INJURY, DEATH, AND/OR PROPERTY DAMAGE, AS WELL AS CLAIMS BASED ON PUBLICITY RIGHTS, DEFAMATION, AND/OR INVASION OF PRIVACY.
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY:
IN NO EVENT WILL THE WBEI BE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OR LOSSES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES, ARISING OUT OF ANY ACCESS TO AND/OR USE OF THE SWEEPSTAKES SITE, THE DOWNLOADING FROM AND/OR PRINTING MATERIAL DOWNLOADED FROM THE SWEEPSTAKES SITE, THE REMOVAL FROM THE SWEEPSTAKES SITE OF, OR DISCONTINUATION OF ACCESS TO, ANY MATERIALS, OR THE ACCEPTANCE, POSSESSION, USE, OR MISUSE OF, OR ANY HARM RESULTING FROM THE ACCEPTANCE, POSSESSION, USE OR MISUSE OF, OR PARTICIPATION IN, ANY PRIZE AWARDED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SWEEPSTAKES.  WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, THE SWEEPSTAKES, ALL PRIZES, AND ALL MATERIALS PROVIDED ON OR THROUGH THE SITE ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT.

03Jun14 Dom Billing Block ISTAY