Monday, December 26, 2011

Favorite Books of 2011

For book lovers picking out our favorite books of the year is practically impossible. The way I pick my favorites is to think about those books I gave high ratings to and then which stories really stayed with me. Of course one book you hear me talk about all the time is Catching Jordan. Catching Jordan is the first book in a really long time that has really wowed me so I have to say hands down it's my favorite of 2011. There were also other books that really made me fall in love and I want to share these titles with you. If you don't own these books make sure to add them to your collection in 2012.

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Divergent by Veronica Roth

OyMG by Amy Dominy

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Class of 2k11 - One Year Later

I can't believe the year is almost over! I spent a lot of time talking about the Class of 2k11 this year so I had to go back and ask them to share a memory of their debut year. I feel very lucky to have found Class of 2k11 because each author and book is special to me. {Go buy Class of 2k11 books}

I've been thinking about my release day ever since I sold my book. And I imagined a lot of things--mostly involving finding the book on the shelf at a bookstore and squealing repeatedly until they threw me out--but I didn't picture what actually happened. I woke up the morning of my release to find that a bunch of my fellow 2k11ers and some awesome book bloggers had zombified themselves all over the internet. They were creepy and silly and ridiculous, and one had a plunger stuck to her head. I don't think I've ever felt more like a rock star (or maybe zombie queen is more appropriate). And out of all of the things that happened that day, it's what sticks in my mind the most--that some of my favorite people in the world did something ridiculous to help celebrate my little book of ridiculousness. I get the giggles just thinking about it. - Carrie Harris

Most surreal: The box of “author’s” hardcover books arriving, and my sons just staring; walking into the Strand bookstore in NYC to see my book up on the famous, dusty shelves; signing books at my launch for a line 100+ deep; and the first group panel readings I did with my Class of 2K11 cohorts.

Most fun/ridiculous: Ah, the Ford Crown Victoria. Need I say more? interview with Cari Soto with bee antennae on my head; 90-second sampler reading at the Dolphin Bookshop on Long Island

Most rewarding: the readers who say they love the book, but especially the teen male readers who tell me that they hate to read, but “had” to, then couldn’t put my book down. Man, I love those dudes. ;) - Gae Polisner

For me, a favorite moment with the Class of 2k11 came in the midst of every author's nightmare. It was BEA 2011 and I’d come to New York for a week of events with other Class of 2k11 authors. On this particular night, we’d taken the train to a small town for a book signing event. And no one showed up. As it turned out, the town had a parade that night. We did finally get one attendee—a wonderful girl who could only stay a little while—she was marching in the parade band. But I can tell you that it’s a horrible, lonely feeling waiting for people who never come. Still, I wasn’t lonely. More importantly, I wasn’t alone. I had my 2k11 buddies with me. And it really struck me in that moment that I would manage whatever came my way because I had this group of people to share it with. - Amy Fellner Dominy

Identity crisis – that’s how we started. We ranged in age from late twenties to late sixties and lived from the Pacific NW to New York; our prospective readers ranged from nine to eighteen and up; our approaches to marketing ranged from guerilla to gentile; our books were funny and serious, realistic contemporary, sci-fi, and historical fiction. How could we define such a diverse group? For the first few months, we traded up to fifty emails a day (most of them nice, some not so) prompting six members to give up and leave. Sometime in May, 2010, like iron filings in the presence of a magnet, we recognized what we had in common instead of how we were different and coalesced into the Class of 2k11. From that time on, we were all for one and one for all, ready to share our wide-ranging expertise and divide the workload, share tips, toss glitter, throw brickbats, or offer soothing wisdom as the situation demanded. Some of us have still never met in person, but count each other as best friends forever. - Carole Estby Dagg

I had no idea when Amy Holder sent me an email about something called the Class of 2K11, how important it would prove to be. Joining this diverse group of talented writers was one of the best decisions I ever made. The shared expertise and energy was a big help in marketing my debut novel and helped us to gain the attentions of librarians, teachers and wonderful book bloggers like you. However, I think the best part of the Class of 2K11 is how wonderful it has been to have a support network to cheer on each other's successes and provide words of encouragement when things are not going the way we want them to. I would have been lost without my classmates, and consider the members of the Class of 2K11, some of whom I've never met, friends for life. - Alissa Grosso

My favorite part of this amazing year was holding my first book in my hand. It was a life team dream come true! I also loved going to New York City for Book Expo America in May. I had never been to NYC, so that was very exciting, but it was great to meet my Class of 2k11 classmates, and also to go to the office of my publisher and finally meet face-to-face all of the people who had worked so hard on The Sweetest Thing.

The biggest surprise of the year has been how much I have enjoyed doing events where I get to meet my readers. As a kid, all I wanted to do was write, but I never had a chance to meet a real author. It is important to me to show kids that writers are regular people who work really hard to make their work the best it can be. These kids are so special, smart and unique -- I feel so fortunate to get to know them.

As for what's next -- I look forward to seeing what the future holds. I've been working hard on my next book, and hope to have some good news to share about it soon! - Christina Mandelski

The best part of being a member of the Class of 2K11 has been knowing everyone involved! Although I'm pretty quiet & don't email a lot, these fabulous people have always been around to support and commiserate or cheer the ups and downs. I couldn't have done this nearly as sanely without my 2K11 buds! - Julia Karr

I cannot imagine anything nicer than publishing in the company of friends--fellow writers across the country who share the journey, who offer advice and support, who genuinely wish the best for one another. I traveled miles with my fellow 2k11 writers--and when I was tired they carried me, and when I was lost they pointed me toward the light. How can such a thing be possible with in such a solitary vocation? My great joy was meeting them in New York, my true joy will be knowing them for a long long time, book after book, and happily cheering them on. - Sheila O'Connor

Being a debut author is such an amazing time! It’s much more emotional than one would ever dream. But I’ve been so very fortunate for all the kindness people have shown me. As a member of the Class of 2k11, a group of authors whose first books have debuted this year, I not only found other authors who I could ride the rollercoaster of getting your first book published – sharing the good and the bad - but I’ve found authors who I will count as friends for the rest of my life. Additionally, I’ve met so many wonderful bloggers and readers in this community who have supported me, rooted for me and shared the excitement of watching my story become a book – that the whole process has truly been a dream come true. I will forever be grateful for all the kind, wonderful people out there who made this such a special year! Thank you! - Kiki Hamilton

One of my favorite moments with the Class of 2k11 was actually meeting everyone (almost) in New York during BEA week. The Books of Wonder event, in particular, was, well, wonderful, and after wards Bettina, Chris, Sheila, and I had a lovely dinner outdoors at the Bryant Park Cafe. - Angie Smibert

10. Receiving wonderful emails from my classmates when ‘crisis du jour’ happened.
9. Slumber party at Gae’s house.
8. The Crown Victoria photo opp.
7. Walking into Books of Wonder to see a full house and our books on the shelf.
6. Throwing virtual rocks for my classmates
5. SCBWI Carolinas
4. Understanding how much work a debut is – and that some things work and some things don’t. But, I had a supportive team that I could teach and learn from.
3. Celebrating each small moment with people who UNDERSTOOD the agony of reviews (good and bad), Goodreads, empty and full signings, lack of ARCS, B&N, Amazon math, etc.
2. Meeting and connecting with so many wonderful book people.
1. Best part of the year – knowing that this doesn’t have to end. I have friends and I have words. Whether I ever publish again is yet to be know, but friends and great stories won’t ever change.
-Bettina Restrepo

Gae, Amy D., Christina, Carrie, Geoff, Alissa, Amy H., Carol, Julia, Tara, Trinity, Angie, Kiki, Bettina, Tess, and Sheila you are all welcome on my blog anytime!

One of a kind artwork by Gae Poliser exclusively found on Cari's Book Blog

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Events: Mary Lindsey

Hi All,

Mary Lindsey had her debut party for Shattered Souls last weekend at Blue Willow Bookshop and wow what a crowd! DFW Bloggers Stacy from Girls in the Stacks and Michelle from Windowpane Memoirs even made the trip for the event. Local authors Christina Mandelski and Joy Preble also were at Blue Willow to support Mary. The Houston and Dallas bloggers were joined by Joy Preble before the event for lunch at Becks to talk about all things books. We had such a blast, I can't wait to do it again!

Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Vol. 1

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

I have never read anything like the Tiny Book of Tiny Stories! I love how unique the concept of the book came about, which Joseph explains perfectly in the video below. I was also fascinated by the fact that the stories felt complete and the illustrations added to each story. I think this is a great addition for any book or art lover. Also with every story I kept finding myself saying "oh this is my favorite story" and at the end I couldn't pick just one story, but I must say I did love the one with the egg (below). I can't wait for the next two books in this tiny series!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Events: Lauren Henderson

I recently started downloading the latest pictures on my camera and found the pictures from the Lauren Henderson event at Murder by the Book. Lauren writes the Kiss series and was in town promoting the fourth and final book in the series Kiss of Death. Lauren is currently working on a new young adult series Flirting In Italian which sounds like a fun read. I haven't read the Kiss series yet but I picked up the first three books. Lauren is hilarious and if she is ever in your area make sure to go see her.

Full size pictures:Lauren Henderson Album

For more on Lauren visit: Lauren Henderson online

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: Catching Jordan

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

CATCHING JORDAN is one of my favorite books this year! I dare you to start reading and put it down before you reach the end. I feel like a broken record because I have been telling anyone who will listen how much I love this book. When I first saw the cover I was smitten and then on closer inspection I saw that Simone Elkeles blurbed it and at that point I knew it had to be something special. CATCHING JORDAN is about a high school quarterback who lives for the sport. Only this quarterback is a girl and she is set on playing college football for the top school in the nation. Jordan wishes that her father, who plays for the NFL, would support her dreams, but just as Jordan is passionate about playing football he is as passionate about getting her to quit.

The beauty in this story is that all the characters have flaws making them very real. Jordan has tunnel vision when it comes to sports and is missing out on other life experiences like spending time with family, having friends outside the team, and even having a boyfriend. Then Ty transfers to her school and wants to join the football team. Ty played quarterback in Texas and took his team to the state championship. Jordan isn’t sure if she should worry more about her position or her heart because Ty is Chace Crawford hot.

Jordan has no shortage of hot guys around her, like her brother’s best friend Jake or her best friend Henry or one of the many guys on the team. The friendship between Henry and Jordan is sweet, funny, and effortless. Henry is the one who got Jordan into football at age seven and they have been best friends ever since. They do everything together from co-parenting an electronic baby in home ec. to playing football. While Henry is very proud of being a male slut he gives Jordan the push she needs to open up about her feelings for Ty. Jordan realizes she needs to find a balance and stop caring about what the world thinks or says.

If you only take one recommendation from me all year I hope you pick up this book! I find it rare when a novel leaves such a huge impression so I read it a second time and both times I laughed, cried, and smiled. I hope Hollywood comes calling because CATCHING JORDAN definitely has movie potential. CATCHING JORDAN is Miranda Kenneally’s debut novel and is available today. Miranda is also working on two companion novels THE GIRL I USED TO BE to be released in 2012 and BAD, BAD THING in 2013.

To learn more about Miranda visit: