Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (Review and Giveaway)

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu is a love song to book lovers.  I first heard about it when a few of my Tweeps mentioned it on Twitter.  When I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publisher, I set my other books aside and sank into my couch with it.  A few hours later, I struggled to leave Ursu’s world behind in order to be a functional member of society again.  It’s that good.  Enchanting, heartfelt, sincere, and magical are the only words I can use to describe  Breadcrumbs.

A modern retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen”, Breadcrumbs is the story of Hazel and Jack.  Best friends their entire lives, they are inseparable.  That is until, something happens and Jack begins to change.  No one else notices anything different about Jack and when Hazel tries to point it out, she is only told that sometimes boys and girls grow apart as they grow up.  Luckily for Jack, Hazel doesn’t see this as a valid reason for his sudden coldness and distance.

Hazel finds herself drawn into a fairy tale world full of magic, witches, enchanted flowers, and spells.  I found myself utterly enchanted by Hazel.  She is a real (non-white!) girl experiencing the growing pains of early adolescence.  She is struggling to understand her parents’ divorce.  She has been forced to transfer to a regular public school rather than the creative arts schools she previously attended.  And she doesn’t fit in with new classmates but she is unwilling to compromise her self in order to fit in.

And the geekiness!  Ursu has created a love song for bookworms with Breadcrumbs.  Hazel is a book lover and she views the world through the lens of the books she has read and loved.  Harry Potter, Madeline L’Engle, Rebecca Stead, The Golden Compass, and many more in between.  I loved the obvious and not-so-obvious mentions of books that shaped my own childhood.  Breadcrumbs is just magical.

Highly, highly recommended.  This is being marketed as a middle grade book but I handed it to some of my sophomores and they are raving about it.  I think this is a book the will leap across the divides of gender and age.  It’s a book that should be in all classroom libraries.  The writing is poetic and brilliant and the story is one that wraps you up in its arms and doesn’t let you go until you reach the last page.  Get this one now!  You will want to own a copy before the Newbery Award is awarded this winter.  ;)

Interested in winning a copy of Breadcrumbs?  Walden Pond Press has kindly offered a copy for one reader of the blog!  Simply comment on this post by 10/7 in order to be entered.  Be sure to leave your name and an email address where you can be reached in the event that you win!

Relic Master Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations!  There were 35 entrants in the blogiversary giveaway and I used a random integer generator to choose the winner.

A big congratulations to Deborah Mozingo and her students!

Be sure to check your email, Deborah!


Thanks to the publisher for donating the series for the giveaway! :-D

When You Reach Me Winner!

102 people entered the drawing for the signed copy of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I plugged the numbers into the Random Integer Generator and we have our winner!

 

Congratulations to Juliet W. from Arkansas!

I will be forwarding your information to the publicist at Random House.  :)

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Don’t forget, Random House has been kind enough to offer a signed copy of the paperback of Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me to one of my readers!  Enter below for your chance to win!

Click here to enter!

 

Entries close January 25th.

Win a signed copy of When You Reach Me!

It’s Newbery week, which is perfect timing for the release of Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me in paperback.  If you read my blog at all last year, you know how much I love love love this book.  It was my top pick last year and my classes chose it as their mock Newbery winner.  Now, Random House has been kind enough to offer a signed copy of the paperback to one of my readers!  Enter below for your chance to win!

Click here to enter!

 

 

Entries close January 25, 2011

Winner of Linger Giveaway!

Scholastic was kind enough to offer a copy of Linger to one of my readers.  Those who entered the giveaway were each given a number in the spreadsheet and then random.org was used to choose a random integer.  The winner of a copy of Linger is….

Cassy L. from NJ!

I will be forwarding your information to the Scholastic rep and you can expect your book soon!  Congratulations!

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater Review + Giveaway!

Last May I read and reviewed an ARC of Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. I loved it and immediately upon closing the book I was desperate for the sequel.  I just closed the back cover on the sequel, Linger, and it was just as good as the first book in the series!

Grace and Sam are finally together. The only thing standing in the way of their happiness is Grace’s parents sudden interest in parenting. After being absentee parents for most of her life they have decided to set rules and one of them is spending less time with Sam. When they catch Sam sleeping over, Grace and Sam are forbidden from seeing each other. What her parents don’t seem to be concerned about is the strange illness that is slowly overtaking her body. Sam, on the other hand, is wracked with nerves and can’t figure out what is wrong with her. Plus, the poor kid is also dealing with the three new wolves that Beck turned before disappearing. One of those new wolves just happens to be a world-famous rock star. Someone people could, and most likely will, recognize. And this Cole isn’t too concerned about anything other than being a wolf full-time.

I love, love, love Sam.  What a fantastic character.  In this novel, he spends a lot of time thinking in lyrics and poetry, which I loved.  Apparently the audiobook includes Sam singing!  I did enjoy seeing Sam’s growth over the course of the two books.  He has been forced to mature, despite his emotional baggage.  He is still broken and damaged, but his love for Grace and Beck is slowly helping to put him back together.  It’s just a matter of when he will be made whole again, or if he can.

This book doesn’t have the same sense of urgency that Shiver did.  Shiver was all about if and when Sam would change.  Linger isn’t as fast-paced but I still found myself on the edge of my seat.  I was dying to know what was wrong with Grace.  The story built up slowly but surely, leaving me with tears in my eyes for the last 20 pages or so.  This is a much more dramatic book than the first in the series, but in a good way.  Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting the next (and final?) book in the series- Forever.  Highly recommended


Want to win your own copy of Linger?  Click below to enter!  A winner will be randomly chosen next Tuesday and Scholastic will mail out a copy of the book!

Win your own copy of Linger!

Maggie Stiefvater’s website:

http://www.maggiestiefvater.com/

Maggie Stiefvater’s blog:

http://m-stiefvater.livejournal.com/

Author Twitter:

http://twitter.com/mstiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger Book Trailer:

Scholastic.com official Shiver page

http://www.scholastic.com/shiver/

*review copy courtesy of the publisher

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater Giveaway!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger. Scholastic has generously donated a copy of the book for a giveaway, so come back tomorrow to enter to win your own copy of the book!

Blog Tour for Wish by Alexandra Bullen

Please welcome Alexandra Bullen, author of Wish, to the blog!  Alexandra is in the midst of a blog tour to promote her debut novel, which I loved.  (Check out my review).  Alexandra has held a lot of jobs and I immediately noticed the list in her author bio on the back flap.  I asked her to share with us how those many (and varied!) jobs have influenced her writing.  I know that my students tend to think that authors sit down, write a book, get it published, become famous, and never work a regular job.  They think you have to “do something big” to get inspiration for writing.  Bullen proves that wrong in today’s post!

(Be sure to stay tuned at the end of the post for a chance to win a signed copy of Wish, courtesy of Scholastic!)


**********Alexandra Bullen, author of Wish**********

Part time jobs are a writer’s best friend. At least, this writer thinks so. Over the years I’ve done all kinds of different things, none more or less exciting than the jobs that everybody works in college, or over the summer, or when they’re trying to figure out what to do with their lives. I’ve worked in restaurants and bakeries, I’ve sold furniture,clothes and antiques, I’ve taught yoga, I’ve reviewed film scripts and answered phones.

Some days, I was good at it. Most days, I was a nightmare. But every day, I was a writer.  Even during the months when I was working two or three jobs at a time—gardening during the day, waitressing at night, teaching yoga on the weekends—and not ever writing a word. I was learning things that I could never learn in front of my computer, or in a writing workshop.

Some of the things I’ve learned have helped me to be a better writer. Now, when I’m writing a story that takes place in the spring and I’m trying to set the scene, I know which flowers are blooming, which plants are seasonal and how they smell. I know what the earth feels like in April, how the leaves are buried under layers of frozen dirt and sometimes pieces of recycled trash, hidden in the compost.

Some of the things I’ve learned have helped me to be a better and more functional human being. As a waitress, I learned math. I’m not kidding. It was the first time in my life that I ever really needed it. I learned to multi-task, and prioritize—things that come in handy now when I’m trying to do things like pay my bills or organize my day. I also learned how not to be a jerk to your waitress; probably the most important life lesson of them all.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned working countless part-time jobs is the fact that not once did I ever wish any of them turned into something more. I never wanted to “move up.” I was always perfectly content knowing that even if I was burning my hand on the espresso machine six hours every day, I was a writer, too.  And as long as I had something to go home to, some project to work on, some imagined deadline to meet, it didn’t matter how anybody else defined me.

Writer, human, mediocre waitress.

(I guess something’s always gotta give…)


Interested in reading Wish?  Scholastic has generously donated a SIGNED copy of the book for one lucky winner!  Leave a comment by Friday at midnight to be entered in the giveaway.  The winner will be chosen at random and you will need to submit your address to me, to pass on to Scholastic.  (All entrants must be older than 13!)

Check out Alex’s next stop on her blog tour  at Luxury Reading on January 14, where she’ll be doing a guest post about San Francisco (where Wish takes place).


Shiver Contest

I rarely enter contests, but I want in on this one!

Someone out there in internet-land bought on an ARC of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater on eBay for $71.00

$71.00!

Seeing as not all of us can afford to (illegally) purchase the ARC on eBay, Maggie is running an awesome contest.   You should all go and enter! 

Make sure to blog about this contest and then comment on this post and tell her I sent you!Because the $51 ARC has inspired me to do a contest thingy. Here’s the deal. It’s running from May 8-15th. The idea is to convince as many of your LJ or blogger or wordpress friends to post about Shiver (you don’t have to pay them, although it might help). Winner is whoever manages to get as many of their friends to post and comment back here by 8 p.m. EST on the 15th.

And the reward? Okay. Here it is. First of all, you have to get at least 5 friends to blog about it to be eligible. Winner gets:

- a signed ARC of SHIVER
- 4 signed copies of LAMENT
- and for each of the friends that you got to comment, a critique of the first 5 pages of any of their manuscripts

 

And if any single person manages to get over 50 friends to comment, I’ll make it 3 ARCs of SHIVER and 8 copies of LAMENT. 

What is Shiver about?

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Pre-order this one now…..because I think it’s going to be huge. I already have a group of girls in my class clamoring to read it!  And once they start reading it I can foresee copy after copy being passed around.  :)

 

So go!  And tell Maggie I sent you on this post.  

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