Book Review: Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tessa Smith McGovern

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This book should be enjoyed responsibly by readers ages 21 & over only. Oh, but enjoy it you will!

cocktails for book loversCleverly pairing up delicious cocktail recipes with beloved classic novels, Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tessa Smith McGovern is the perfect addition to any adult readers’ library. Or bar. Or … er, both.

McGovern has compiled 50 great novels — from old classics like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen to new favorites like The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick — and paired them up perfectly with cocktail recipes. Much like the eclectic choice in authors and titles, the cocktail recipes range from well-known favorites to original concoctions.

Here are some highlights:

“Frankenstein’s Berry Punch” and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of Victor Frankenstien’s more successful experiments: Pimm’s No. 1, and lemon/lime soda over ice cubes into a tall glass with fruit and mint.

“Papi’s Rum Punch” and This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

Papi and Miguel enjoy Bermúdez rum, and now it’s your turn. This refreshing summer cocktail combines light and aged rum, orange, mango, and pineapple juice.

“Heathcliff’s Crush” and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Watch out Cathy Earnshaw! Heathcliff’s got a new love. Read this tumultuous romance with a tantalizing    Madeira, vodka, and Elderflower Presse cocktail in hand. Obsession guaranteed.

Not only do I love the cocktail combinations McGovern offers readers — but even more, I love what this book inspires. After reading it, I want to go to my own bookshelves, select my favorite tomes, and start mixing up drinks to compliment them. (And just think how much further you could take it, adding in food recipes, too!)

This book is perfect for anyone wanting to mix up a little libations while reading over a long weekend — or for book clubs, looking to spice up the refreshments at their next meetings.

Cocktails for Book Lovers is in stores now. Here is more about the book & author from the publisher:

The perfect pairing for anyone with a literary thirst: cocktails inspired by your favorite authors!

From Jane Austen’s little-known fondness for wine to Hemingway’s beloved mojitos, literature and libations have always gone hand in hand. Cocktails for Book Lovers blends these in a delectable book that will delight both readers and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

Perfect for book clubs and bon vivants, this irresistible collection features 50 original and classic cocktail recipes based on works of famous authors from Virginia Woolf to Junot Diaz and popular drinks of their eras, including Orange Champagne Punch, Salted Caramel and Bourbon Milkshakes, and even Zombie Cola. So dip in, pick your favorite author or book, and take a sip, or start at the beginning and work your way through. Cheers!

Tessa Smith-McGovern is an award-winning writer, and founder, host, and executive producer of BookGirlTV, a popular online video series for book clubs. She teaches Writing for Digital Media at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

New YA Releases: July 15, 2014

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

illusiveIllusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist…She’s also a thief.

After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn’t?

The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.

dirty wingsDirty Wings by Sarah McCarry

A gorgeous retelling of the Persephone myth, Sarah McCarry brings us the story of Cass and Maia–the mothers from All Our Pretty Songs–and how their fates became intertwined.

Maia is a teenage piano prodigy and dutiful daughter, imprisoned in the oppressive silence of her adoptive parents’ house like a princess in an ivory tower. Cass is a street rat, witch, and runaway, scraping by with her wits and her knack for a five-fingered discount. When a chance encounter brings the two girls together, an unlikely friendship blossoms that will soon change the course of both their lives. Cass springs Maia from the jail of the only world she’s ever known, and Maia’s only too happy to make a break for it. But Cass didn’t reckon on Jason, the hypnotic blue-eyed rocker who’d capture Maia’s heart as soon as Cass set her free–and Cass isn’t the only one who’s noticed Maia’s extraordinary gifts. Is Cass strong enough to battle the ancient evil she’s unwittingly awakened–or has she walked into a trap that will destroy everything she cares about? In this time, like in any time, love is a dangerous game.

starbreakStarbreak by Phoebe North

The Asherah has finally reached Zehava, the long-promised planet. There, Terra finds harsh conditions and a familiar foe—Aleksandra Wolff, leader of her ship’s rebel forces. Terra and Aleksandra first lock horns with each other . . . but soon realize they face a much more dangerous enemy in violent alien beasts—and alien hunters.

Then Terra finally discovers Vadix. The boy who has haunted her dreams may be their key to survival—but his own dark past has yet to be revealed. And when Aleksandra gets humanity expelled from the planet, it’s up to Terra, with Vadix by her side, to unite her people—and to forge an alliance with the alien hosts, who want nothing more than to see humanity gone forever.

breathe annie breatheBreathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

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

Book Review: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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Creeptastic is probably the best word to describe Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods, a collection of eerie short stories in graphic form. through the woodsNot to be outdone – Carroll’s own illustrations are just as spooky (if not more so) than her stories!

A fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of Grimm Tales, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and the works of Neil Gaiman

‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

The tone of the stories almost remind me of the utter terror I felt as a child when I read the story “The Green Ribbon” in In a Dark, Dark Room scary stories anthology. Each story is unearthly and unsettling on so many levels, heightened by the moody illustrations.

I read Through the Woods in a single, terrifying sitting –luckily in the middle of the day, as I’m not sure how I would have handled these stories in the dark of night. I remember shuddering after I finished the last one.

The stories and illustrations are so lovely in their craft — but so creepy and disturbing in their content!

Through the Woodsis in stores tomorrow.

 

Exclusive Q&A with Brazen Author Katherine Longshore – Part 1

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I’m so excited today to be kicking-off our exclusive three-part interview with Brazen author Katherine Longshore. Thanks to Katherine for stopping by today, and to the folks at Penguin for helping arrange this interview!

Katherine_Longshore_1589_CL_57_WThis is your third book set during the Tudor era. What first drew you to this specific time in history? What keeps drawing you back?

I kind of fell backwards into my love of Tudor history. I started with Richard III, after seeing Ian McKellen in the film adaptation of the Shakespeare play. I thought, no one could really be that bad and set out to find the truth. It seemed a natural progression from Richard to Henry VIII. It’s the characters who keep drawing me back (and preventing me from moving chronologically forward on my historical quest). The chimeric king, his highly individual wives, the courtiers—ambitious, brutal, backstabbing, poetic, artistic, loyal, craven, adulterous, victimized or just plain in the wrong place at the wrong time. All human life is here.

brazenMary Howard is not a name most people are familiar with. What drew you to telling her story in BRAZEN?

During my research for TARNISH, I came across a little-known historical artifact called the Devonshire Manuscript. It is believed that it was passed around the court during the 1530s and 40s, and that many hands contributed to the collection of poems, notes and cryptic messages enclosed within. The initials stamped on the cover are MF—Mary FitzRoy—and two of the primary contributors are Margaret Douglas and Madge Shelton. I fell in love with the idea of a 16th Century literary brat pack and imagined Mary—the owner of the book—at the center.

What are some of the biggest creative licenses you took when writing BRAZEN?

The very biggest was placing Mary within the court during the three years the action takes place. There is no concrete evidence that she was there or that she served Anne Boleyn as queen during that time. There are hints—she participated in Anne’s first mass as queen and in Elizabeth’s christening, and one chronicler mentions her as one of Anne’s greatest supporters. I took that mention as license to build a friendship between the two women.

The second biggest license was the relationship between Mary and her husband, Henry FitzRoy. Nowhere does the historical record relate that they even saw each other after their marriage, much less got to know each other. But for me, Fitz (like Anne) had to be an integral part of Mary’s story. And just because something isn’t mentioned doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, right?

Thanks again, Katherine! Tune in for part 2 of our Q&A on Wednesday!

Contest: Win Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson & Lisa Papademetriou + Other Books

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Today, we’re pleased to share an exciting contest celebrating the July 21st release of Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson & Lisa Papademetriou.

One winner (U.S. only) will receive “The Happiness Project” prize pack — which includes copies of Homeroom Diaries, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, Confessions of a Murder Suspect, and First Love:

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Prizing & samples  courtesy of Little, Brown

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE for your chance to win! Contest is open to U.S. addresses only, and runs through midnight (PT) on July 21st.

OFFICIAL LINKS:

HomeroomDiariesABOUT THE BOOK:

In James Patterson’s first highly illustrated “diary fiction” story for teens, the mega-bestselling author’s most endearing and original teen heroine ever proves that everyone can use a helping hand once in a while.

Margaret “Cuckoo” Clarke recently had a brief stay in a mental institution following an emotional breakdown, but she’s turning over a new leaf with her “Happiness Project”. She’s determined to beat down the bad vibes of the Haters, the Terror Teachers, and all of the trials and tribulations of high school by writing and drawing in her diary. And when life gets really tough, she works through her own moments of uncertainty through imaginary conversations with her favorite literary characters.

Cuckoo’s also got a nearly impossible mission: she, along with her misfit band of self-deprecating friends (who call themselves “the Freakshow”) decide to bridge the gap between warring cliques and “bring the Nations together”. Not everyone is so willing to join hands and get along, but Cuckoo never stops smiling…until one of her closest friends, pushed to desperation by a Hater prank, decides that enough is enough.

Pre-order your copy of Homeroom Diaries here:

ABOUT JAMES PATTERSON:

Photo by David Burnett

Photo by David Burnett

In January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having “transformed book publishing.” Time magazine named him “The Man Who Can’t Miss,” and he is a two-time Children’s Choice Book Award “Author of the Year” nominee, a designation decided on by more than 15,000 children and teen readers.

In the past three years, James Patterson has sold more books than any other author (according to Bookscan), and in total, James’s books have sold an estimated 260 million copies worldwide. Since 2006, one out of every seventeen hardcover fiction books sold was a Patterson title. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children’s bestsellers lists and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year—a record-breaking feat he’s accomplished every year since 2005. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds the New York Times record for most Hardcover Fiction bestselling titles by a single author (76 total), which is also a Guinness World Record.

From his James Patterson Pageturner Awards (which rewarded groups and individuals for creative and effective ways of spreading the joy of reading) to his website ReadKiddoRead.com (which helps adults find books that kids are sure to love) to his regular donations of thousands of books to troops overseas, Patterson is a lifelong champion of books and reading. His critically acclaimed Maximum Ride series debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list at #1 and remained there for twelve straight weeks. The series has so far made ninety-four cumulative appearances on The New York Times bestsellers lists, proving that kids of all ages love page turners. He captured the attention of boy readers with Daniel X series, and his third series for readers of all ages debuted in December 2009 with Witch & Wizard, which spent five consecutive weeks atop the New York Times bestsellers list.

Patterson is the creator of the top-selling new detective series of the past dozen years, featuring Alex Cross and including the Hollywood-adapted “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls,” starring Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. He is also the creator of the #1 new detective series of the past five years, featuring Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club, from which the ABC television drama series was adapted. He has authored books behind six films on the Hollywood fast-track, including the upcoming Maximum Ride movie forthcoming from Avi Arad, the producer of X-Men and Spiderman.

He is the author of novels — from The Thomas Berryman Number (1976) to Honeymoon (2005) — that have won awards including the Edgar, the BCA Mystery Guild’s Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Reader’s Digest Reader’s Choice Award. And, he has won a Children’s Choice Book Council’s Children’s Choice Awards “Author of the Year” award (2010).

One of Forbes magazine’s Celebrity 100, James made a guest appearance on the popular FOX TV show “The Simpsons” in March, 2007.

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe: Summer Blog Tour – Hitting the Road

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After our week of guest blogs from The Sound of Letting Go author Stasia Ward Kehoe, it’s time for this summer blog tour to hit the road! Here’s Stasia with more:

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swknovelnoviceroadtrippicTAKING IT ON THE ROAD…Like a summer road trip, a blog tour is nothing without fun stops along the way. Sara at Novel Novice has lined up some awesome destinations for THE SOUND OF LETTING GO adventures. But the other essential part of road tripping, like writing life, is THE PEOPLE YOU BRING ON THE JOURNEY. The book business is scary and full of heartbreak. Lots of things are out of your control. And, frankly, the money ain’t great. But, if you’re looking for incredible friends—folks who are really your tribe, who love books and writing and reading and the whole crazy world of it—then you’re exactly where you need to be and every stop along the way is kind of amazing.

So, as summer swelters along, you can find follow THE SOUND OF LETTING GO blog tour to…

July 14th – Hypable

July 21st – Reading Teen

July 28th – Page Turners

August 4th – Novels, News & Notes

August 11th – Icey Books

August 18th – Book Chic

August 25th – Candace’s Book Blog

At each stop, I’ll be interviewing a writer friend (Who, you ask? It’s a surprise!) about the business and the their lives beyond the pages. I hope you’ll follow along!

And, oh yeah, don’t forget to enter for THE PRIZE of PRIZEY GOODNESS! Enter the Rafflecopter HERE!

 

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe: Summer Blog Tour – My Pinterest Problem

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Today, we continue our summer-long blog tour with The Sound of Letting Go author Stasia Ward Kehoe.

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I’m a word person. Not super visual. In fact, I’ve tried using index cards and other visual methods for plotting my novels and have, well, failed. Here’s an example of one failed attempt for my current work in progresss:

plotting

That said, I LOVE PINTEREST! While visual aids don’t help me plot novels, I’ve had great luck finding inspiring images such as the perfect-looking dog for my new main character (a brindle Great Dane) and I’ve had lots of fun doing things like decorating rooms for my characters and imagining who might play them on the big screen (hey, a girl can dream, right?).

Check out DAISY’S MUSIC ROOM and my FANTASY CAST boards for THE SOUND OF LETTING GO. Or give me some feedback on my style choices at the DRESSING LIKE AN AUTHOR board.

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For more ways to win my books and summer swag, visit www.stasiawardkehoe.com.

Beyond Brazen by Katherine Longshore: The Real Mary Howard & Henry FitzRoy

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Earlier this week, we brought you 8 facts about Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty, as part of our July Book of the Month feature on Brazen by Katherine Longshore. Today, we’re detailing the lives of Mary Howard — the main character in Brazen — and her husband, Henry FitzRoy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII.

Mary Howard

mary howardThough little is known about Mary Howard, she is one of the more intriguing figures behind the scenes of Henry VIII’s reign.

Born in 1519, Mary Howard was the daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. She was the cousin of both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard – both of whom would later become a wife to Henry VIII, and be executed on the King’s orders.

In 1533, following negotations between Henry VIII and the Duke of Norfolk, Mary was married to Henry FitzRoy, the illegitimate son of the king. Mary was 14 or 15 at the time (the exact date of her birth is not known); Henry FitzRoy was 15. However, fearful that sex had hastened the death of his older brother Author, Henry VIII forbid the couple from consummating their marriage.

With no male heir, many believed (and in the Howard family, hoped) that FitzRoy would be legitimized and named first in line to the throne. The Duke of Norfolk hoped to see his daughter become Queen. It was an idea the king often contemplated, but ultimately never fulfilled.

As it was, FitzRoy died at the age of 17 from consumption.

Following the death of her husband, Mary lost most of the lands that would have been her right as FitzRoy’s widow — because the King insisted the marriage was not valid, as it had not been consummated.

For some years following FitzRoy’s death, Mary remained at court, serving in various capacities. She was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London, along with the rest of her family, following Catherine Howard’s imprisonment and execution for adultery.

Though her father tried to see her married to Thomas Seymour (twice) and her brother suggested she seduce the King, Mary never remarried. Angered by his suggestion that she try to seduce the King, Mary broke ties with her brother, even giving testimony that later lead to his trial and execution for treason.

After the death of Henry VIII, Mary left court. She died peacefully in 1557.

Read more about Mary Howard here.

Henry FitzRoy

henry fitzroyThe 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Henry FitzRoy was the only illegitimate child Henry VIII ever acknowledged. Born in 1519, FitzRoy’s mother was Elizabeth Blount, a maid-of-honour to Henry’s wife Catherine of Aragon. (Elizabeth was supposedly Henry’s mistress for some eight years!)

Named Henry after his father, the surname FitzRoy was also meant to indicate he was the son of the King. Though illegitimate children were usually kept quiet, the King was vocal in his desire for a male heir. At the time of his birth, FitzRoy was the King’s only son.

In 1525, most likely as a result of the King’s desire for a male heir, FitzRoy was named 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset. The boy was only six years old at the time. He was later also named Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

In 1533, FitzRoy was married to Mary Howard — though, as stated above, the two were forbidden by the King from consummating their marriage.

During FitzRoy’s lifetime, the King ended his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn.

It was during Anne’s fall from grace when Parliament considered an Act which would disinherit Elizabeth (the King’s daughter with Anne Boleyn) and allow the King to name his own successor, legitimate or not. This would have paved the way for FitzRoy to be named heir to the throne.

However, less than two months after Anne Boleyn’s execution, FitzRoy died from consumption. Sadly, he was buried in secret, with only two attendants to mourn him.

Read more about Henry FitzRoy here.

 

Cover Reveal: Neurotica by Eliza Gordon

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Today, I’m excited to help share the cover reveal for a fun adult contemporary, Neurotica by Eliza Gordon!
Neuro AmazonGRSWIf you find yourself talking to Jayne Dandy, keep the conversation on Star Wars and rubber ducks—best not to mention men, dating, or S-E-X. Because Jayne is fine with the way things are: writer of obituaries and garage sale ads by day, secret scribe of adventures in distant galaxies by night. But her crippling fear of intimacy has made her the butt of jokes since forever, and hiding behind her laptop isn’t going to get her lightsaber lit.
After her therapist recommends that she write erotica as a form of exposure therapy, Jayne joins forces with pen and paper to combat the demons that won’t let her kiss and tell. Unexpectedly downsized at work, she adopts a pseudonym and secretly self-publishes one of her naughty books to make ends meet. When her adorable, long-time friend Luke, co-owner of the popular Portland food truck LukePiewalker’s, hears she’s been demoted, he insists on hiring her to sling éclairs and turnovers at his side. Her secret must be kept, but sparks ignite between them, sending Jayne and her X-Wing into a tailspin that will either make her face down her neuroses or trigger a meltdown of Death Star proportions.
Here’s the full jacket:
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Jenn-new-hair_DSC5961-WebA purveyor of fictions, Eliza Gordon has excellent taste in books, shoes, movies, and friends, and questionable sanity in the realm of love. Best leave that one alone. www.elizagordon.com

Connect:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:
$15 Amazon Gift Card
2 ebooks of Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon (adult romantic comedy).
Open Worldwide
Prizing provided by the author.
This event was organized by:
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The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe: Summer Blog Tour – YA with Great Shape

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Today, we continue our summer-long blog tour with The Sound of Letting Go author Stasia Ward Kehoe.

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Who needs a perfect beach body when you have these YA novels with great shapes?

I started seriously reading YA in my twenties as newly-employed as a Library Marketing Associate at Random House Books for Young Readers. My job gave me access to a remarkable library, including two particularly memorable YA’s: Philip Pullman’s GOLDEN COMPASS and Suzanne Fisher Staples SHABANU: DAUGHTER OF THE WIND. Those were the books that started me wanting not just to read but to write teen fiction.

Over the next decades, my marketing career took me from publishing house to publishing house and I kept reading. Sarah Dessen, M. T. Anderson, Pete Hautman, Libba Bray, Judy Blundell, Holly Black, J.K. Rowling…I devoured thousands of pages. But I still hadn’t found my own voice as a writer. Who finally led me there? Ellen Hopkins, Sharon Creech and Karen Hesse. In their verse novels, I first saw the synthesis of my love for poetry, the cadence of dance (my first creative love), and the emotional immediacy of verse. Their work changed way I read, the way I think about creating a novel…it set me free.

Since then, I’ve realized that I have a particular taste for prose and poem-based novels that break the mold by taking unusual approaches to shaping language into a narrative form. Here are a few uniquely structured novels that, to me, FEEL LIKE POETRY, inspiring readers and writers alike to realize the power of form in storytelling.

wintergirlsWINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson

The story: Lia did not answer one of the 33 calls her estranged best friend Cassie made the night she died. Cassie was her “secret sister” in the shadow community of girls with eating disorders. Now, Lia is alone in the wake of Cassie’s death, battling guilt, struggling to stay thin, and risking her own death as loved ones around her try to help her heal herself.

The shape: Dark, intense, present-tense narrative is peppered with overstrikes, italics, numbers, varying fonts, repetitions, and even stretches of blank page that make the experience of Lia’s anxiety, grief and illness palpable to the reader. The novel is a breathless and terrifying emotional journey, its fearless form taking it to a place of utter realism far beyond the reach of standard paragraphs.

graveyard bookTHE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

The story: Toddler Nobody Owens (“Bod”) escapes being murdered with the rest of his family by wandering into a graveyard where he is raised and protected by the dead until reaching young adulthood and eagerly stepping out into the “real” world to live his life.

The shape: Names and naming are critical to this novel’s unique structure. Gaiman’s protagonist, “Nobody” is also “Bod”–the only living, embodied denizen of his graveyard home. Bod’s many dead friends are identified by both name and headstone inscription (this is actually quite amusing at times) which both date and characterize them. Bod’s enemy is “the man Jack.” Elegant, organic interweaving of illustrations into the book’s format and design complete Gaiman’s rendering of a fantastical world through which the reader, and Bod, journey, realizing beauty in wounds that can’t be healed and hope in places that will never be perfect.

flora and ulyssesFLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo

The story: A lonely girl name Flora Belle Buckman meets a remarkable, magical squirrel (who is also a poet) who helps her on her journey to rediscover love and family.

The shape: An elegant amalgam of short, uniquely titled chapters, paper-and-pencil style cartoon storyboard illustrations, GIANT vocabulary words, multiple references to a comic book series featuring THE AMAZING INCANDESTO and snips of poetry. On so many levels—the text, the titles, the cadence of the chapters, and the poignant final poem itself-DiCamillo creates an unforgettable exploration of the parent-child bond, the glory of hope, and the redemptive power of words.

book thiefTHE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

The story: In the dark, book-burning, Nazi-overrun world of 1939 Germany, Liesel Meminger lives with her foster family near Munich. Overcome by her yearning for books, Liesel steals, learns to read, and finds herself helping to hide a wounded Jewish man.

The shape: First, the novel is narrated by Death. But don’t let that put you off. This musing on life found, preserved and lost features chapter titles made of imagistic word collages, bullet-point lists, bold-faced musings, translations, transcriptions and definitions. This book is a modern classic: An homage to language, words, communication and what is most human inside all of us.

For more ways to win my books and summer swag, visit www.stasiawardkehoe.com.