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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

April 18, 2014

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate we're highlighting some of the bestselling books of contemporary poetry.

Dog Songs
A collection of new and favorite poems, celebrating the dogs that have enriched the poet’s world

Beloved by her readers, special to the poet’s own heart, Mary Oliver’s dog poems offer a special window into her world. Dog Songs collects some of the most cherished poems together with new works, offering a portrait of Oliver’s relationship to the companions that have accompanied her daily walks, warmed her home, and inspired her work. To be illustrated with images of the dogs themselves, the subjects will come to colorful life here.

These are poems of love and laughter, heartbreak and grief. In these pages we visit with old friends, including Oliver’s well-loved Percy, and meet still others. Throughout, the many dogs of Oliver’s life emerge as fellow travelers, but also as guides, spirits capable of opening our eyes to the lessons of the moment and the joys of nature and connection.

Dog Songs is a testament to the power and depth of the human-animal exchange, from an observer of extraordinary vision.

Buy Dog Songs at Amazon

Aimless Love
The first volume of New and Selected poetry in twelve years from the two-time Poet Laureate of the United States.

Aimless Love gives the reader an opportunity to assess the rich scope of Collins' gifts. Containing more than fifty new poems and a generous gathering from his collections of the past decade-Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, and Nine Horses-Aimless Love showcases the best of his poetic maneuvers: the everyday ends in the infinite, playfulness is paired with empathy, irony gives way to wonder. Possessed of a unique voice that is at once plain and melodic, Billy Collins has managed to enrich American poetry while greatly widening the circle of its audience.

Buy Aimless Love at Amazon

Directing Herbert White
The debut poetry collection by the actor, director, and writer James Franco

I’m a nocturnal creature,
And I’m here to cheat time.
You can see time and exhaustion
Taking pay from my face—

In fifty years
My sleep will be death,
I’ll go like the rest,
But I’ll have played

All the games and all the roles.
     —from “Nocturnal”

“There’s never been a book quite like this. Hollywood—fame, celebrity, the promise of becoming an artist—is the beast at its center. Franco knows it like Melville knows whaling. Hollywood in this book devours its young. Obsessed with myths about its own past, it can be survived only by finding a vantage point that is not Hollywood. Bold yet subtle, fearless yet disarming, Franco has made a book you will never forget.” —Frank Bidart

“A star-studded cast moves like ghosts across the screen of James Franco's poetic consciousness, imbuing the writing with scenes of icons who are also humans replete with sorrow and presence in our own psyches. James Dean, Monica Vitti, Catherine Deneuve, Sal Mineo, Heath Ledger, pass and fade. The author has a wonderful self-reflexive insouciance about his own fame and roles inhabited, from Hart Crane to Allen Ginsberg to Harvey Milk's lover. Franco is a gifted contemporary Renaissance kind of guy, surveying the waterfront of illusion, suffering, and impermanance. We leave the movie theater a little wiser.” —Anne Waldman

Buy Directing Herbert White: Poems at Amazon

September Ends
September Ends is contemporary fiction, blending romance, erotic and supernatural elements, bound together by poetry. It reveals the intricate web of passion and desire which entangles Liz Snow, Pete Hendrix and Jack O. Savage. The story is told through Liz Snow’s diary, Jack O. Savage’s poetry, and from letters sent across the Atlantic. Traveling throughout the lushness of a summertime in Tennessee and Georgia, September Ends journeys into the elegance of London’s West End and is finally settled in the countryside of Cornwall, England, a decade later.

September Ends is a story of sin, redemption and salvation through love because love happens when we least expect it.

Buy September Ends at Amazon

The anticipated second book by the  poet Mary Szybist, author of Granted, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

* A Finalist for the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry *

The troubadours
knew how to burn themselves through,
how to make themselves shrines to their own longing.
The spectacular was never behind them.
                        -from “The Troubadours etc.”

In Incarnadine, Mary Szybist restlessly seeks out places where meaning might take on new color. One poem is presented as a diagrammed sentence. Another is an abecedarium made of lines of dialogue spoken by girls overheard while assembling a puzzle. Several poems arrive as a series of Annunciations, while others purport to give an update on Mary, who must finish the dishes before she will open herself to God. One poem appears on the page as spokes radiating from a wheel, or as a sunburst, or as the cycle around which all times and all tenses are alive in this moment. Szybist’s formal innovations are matched by her musical lines, by her poetry’s insistence on singing as a lure toward the unknowable. Inside these poems is a deep yearning—for love, motherhood, the will to see things as they are and to speak. Beautiful and inventive, Incarnadine is the new collection by one of America’s most ambitious poets

Buy Incarnadine: Poems at Amazon

Yoga Poems
The sixty poems in this book are windows into the mind/body/spirit experiences that come about through yoga practice. Each poem is named for a posture or breath exercise and is inspired by the physical properties of the pose or some aspect of breathing that led the poet to deeper understanding. Listening to these poems read aloud, or contemplating them on one’s own, will help yoga students understand their own struggles and inspire them on the way to personal transformation.

Buy Yoga Poems at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the links above. 
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April 17, 2014

Great Networking Event - #ArmchairBEA

by Donna Huber

If you ask just about any book blogger what their favorite part of blogging is they will say the community. It is one of the main reasons why I've been able to keep blogging year after year. There are number of events that bring bloggers together throughout the year. Some are small events such as blog hops and read-a-thons. Others are large events like Bloggeista and Armchair BEA.

Armchair BEA is an awesome event. I've have participated every year since I started book blogging. My first year's event was just a few months after I had started blogging and I believe it was instrumental in getting my name out there. The next two years were about reconnecting with friends and meeting new people. I participated more in the Twitter parties and stretching my writing skills with the daily topics.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. For how large the event has become (there were something like 600 bloggers participating last year) there are still bloggers who have never heard of it. If you haven't been part of the book community long you may not know about one of the largest industry events - Book Expo of America (BEA). It is a time when major publishers showcase their upcoming releases to members of the industry - media, booksellers, librarians, educators and in more recent years bloggers. It is a HUGE multi-day event in New York City. As book bloggers have proven their worth to the industry, a one day blogger conference in conjunction with BEA was started. However, for many bloggers the cost of the trip is prohibitive. Have you seen the rates at hotels in NYC? Add in a flight and meals and there goes the family vacation money.

So a group of bloggers got together and started an "at home" version called Armchair BEA. It's all the fun without the sore feet and heavy books. There are even on the ground correspondents to provide live clips from the Expo. And there are a bunch of sponsors - publishers, publicists, and authors who offer prizes - FREE BOOKS! And unlike our Expo going counterparts we don't have to worry about fitting them into a suitcase or the cost of shipping them home.

Are you ready to join the fun? Clear your calendars for May 26 - 31. 

Registration is NOW OPEN

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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April 16, 2014

"a gripping, sophisticated story" ~ The Idea of Him by @HollyPetersonNY

Holly Peterson has written a gripping, sophisticated story of high life suspense that kept me riveted till I’d finished. THE IDEA OF HIM is hugely enjoyable and vividly satisfying. ~ Tina Brown of Tina Brown Live Media

Holly Peterson’s THE IDEA OF HIM is the perfect novel if you want to plunge into great dialogue, a twisting and unexpected plot, shady Wall Street schemes, betrayal, girlfriends… and sex.  It is unputdownable.  ~ Lesley Stahl, CBS News 60 Minutes Anchor

The Idea of Him

Mary Crawford is a once aspiring screenwriter turned successful public relations executive, mother of two young children, and wife of a hotshot magazine editor whose power base spans the worlds of finance, fashion, culture, entertainment, and society. At 34, she finds herself at a crossroads: between the office and her home, her life has become an endless rotation of people pleasing-whether pulling rabbits out of hats for her mogul boss, entertaining advertisers and phony A-listers for her husband's magazine, or making elaborate costumes for children's school plays. At least, that is, until she meets a head turning, traffic stopping beauty at the bar of the famed Four Seasons Grill Room-where many of the novel's players regularly convene-and shortly thereafter finds the same woman and her husband in an apparently compromising position in her own apartment.

And so begins the story of two very different women bound by similar missions-to uncover the crimes and betrayals of various men in their lives and finally put their own interests front and center. For Mary this ultimately means leaving a husband who is ideal in theory but not in practice, and deciding to risk security for self-fulfillment and a new life on her own. Like so many women, Mary fell for the man she married when she was in her twenties only to realize years later that it wasn't him she fell for as much as it was the idea of him-the idea of a savior who would protect and provide and ferry her from her past into the future. But the guy who seemed so right at the time turned out to be nothing more than a fantasy.

Read a Sample


Enter the giveaway at Goodreads to win a paperback copy of The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Details: US only. Open until May 3, 2014. 30 copies available.

Buy The Idea of Him at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above.

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April 15, 2014

Review: For Always by Janae Mitchell

by Claire Rees

For Always
In For Always by Janae Mitchell, 16 year old Malyn and her grandmother have moved to a new home in a new area. Malyn finds a new best friend called Beth who has a very cute brother called Jace and Malyn gets herself a job in Beth’s and Jace’s parents cafe and marina shop.

Soon after moving into the new house Malyn finds herself falling deeply in love with the gorgeous Beau who seems to feel the same way about her. Their love is perfect except for one thing........... Beau is dead!!!

Beau decides that he cannot be with her as in ghost form he cannot give her a normal life and tries to move on. Meanwhile Malyn does and she starts to date Jace and get feelings for him.

Buy For Always at Amazon

A friend of her grandmother discovers something that may mean Malyn and Beau could have somewhat of a normal life together.  Now loving both boys Malyn has to make the hardest decision of her life – Beau or Jace?

Plus they also have to fight the “takers” dark creatures from in between heaven, earth, and hell who have come for Beau's soul.

Happily ever after is not as easy as it seems.

The story is a unique love triangle; it has all the things that make a love story great; two boys and a girl fall in love, happiness heart break, betrayal and lots of sexual tension. For Always by Janae would make a great read for young adults and adults who like a love story with a twist.

Today is Pub Day for the sequel For Now. To celebrate, Janae Mitchell is offering a giveaway. Be sure to enter below.

Book info:
ebook & paperback
published November 2013 by Limitless Publishing
ISBN13: 9781493626212
Source: Author
Read: March  2014


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. Giveaway is sponsored by the author who is responsible for the delivery of winnings.
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April 14, 2014

Review: Switched at Birthday by @NatStandiford

by Donna Huber

Switched at Birthday
Looking through the offerings of middle grades fiction at Netgalley and Switched at Birthday by Natalie Standiford caught my eye.

What "misfit" tween hasn't just once wished they could switch places with the most popular kid in school? Lavender is the kid just about everyone loves to pick on or so it seems. Perhaps they are more worried about getting on the bad side of the school's queen bee Scarlet. And what a bad side she has. You know what they say though about walking a mile in another person's shoes. A shared birth date, a special candle in a special cake and one accidental "wish" and they get to find out exactly what the other person goes through on a daily basis.

Buy Switched at Birthday at Amazon

While Switched at Birthday isn't exactly an original idea, I've learned from my niece and nephew that each generation needs their own take on a story. My generation had Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers. I'm pretty positive that they wouldn't read it today. Yet, I think they would be interested in Standiford's book. As the themes of understanding, acceptance, and friendship are important concepts, particularity for the target age group, I'm glad that the idea of switching places never grows old and that authors still find it a worthy plot device.

Standiford's take is well done. It is an entertaining read and kids will identify with the characters. There is a bit of hyperbole in the actions of the kids, sometimes exaggeration is required to get the point across. Plus, as a kid who was picked on at that age, it can feel like the actions of others really are that extreme.

If you have a kid who is struggling to fit in, then this is definitely a book you will want to slip into their backpack or your nightly reading routine. But I encourage not to let only the story be the teacher, use it as an opportunity to talk with your child about what is going on at their school and in their lives.

Book info:
hardcover (240 pages)
published February 2014 by Scholastic Press
ISBN13 9780545346504
Source: Netgally
Read: March 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above.