Sunday, September 30, 2012

30th Anniversary: Banned Books Week!!!!!

We love Banned Books Week.  Why?  Because nothing gets teens reading a book like someone telling them they can't!

Celebrate our freedom to read this week by checking out the books on the Most Challenged Books List:
  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

Helpful Links:
Banned Books Week Official Page, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube
ALA Page
National Council of English Teachers (my heroes)

Banned Books Week is sponsored by: American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, and PEN American Center.
Banned Books Week is endorsed by: Center for the Book at the Library of Congress and Project Censored.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Out Today!

(Little, Brown; September 27, 2012; 512 pages)
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J. K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

The Casual Vacancy
512 pages
ISBN 978-0-316-22853-4 Hardcover ($35.00) - ISBN 978-0-316-22854-1 Large print hardcover ($39.00) - ISBN 978-0-316-22855-8 E-book ($19.99) - ISBN 978-1-619-69501-6 Audio downloadable ($29.98) - ISBN 978-1-619-69500-9 Audio CD ($44.98)

The audio edition of The Casual Vacancy will be read by Tom Hollander, an experienced star of stage and screen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Magic Tree House 20th Anniversary

I have a special place in my heart for Mary Pope Osbourne's Magic Tree House series.  My younger son was later on the reading curve than other kids, but once his light went on he couldn't get enough.  Why?  Because we were blessed to have great teachers, a great public library, and a full bookcase at home - all exposing him to books that were not only fun to read, but age-appropriate, and interesting.  Of all the books he read, Magic Tree House books were his absolute favorite! 
I celebrate with Random House Children's Books in honoring the 20th Anniversary of MAGIC TREE HOUSE.
The following is courtesy of Random House:

Random House Children’s Books continues to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the beloved Magic Tree House series with the publication of a full-color, hardcover edition of its first book, Dinosaurs Before Dark (originally published in 1992). The Magic Tree House 20th Anniversary Full-Color Edition: Dinosaurs Before Dark (978-0-375-86988-4, $14.99) includes new and updated dinosaur information and a letter from Mary Pope Osborne. Widely regarded among children, teachers, and parents alike for its power to instill a passion for reading, the award-winning Magic Tree House series is an international phenomenon and has sold more than 100 million books worldwide and has been translated into 32 different languages in over 30 international markets.

To celebrate this major milestone, a calendar of national literacy endeavors, theatrical projects, philanthropic initiatives and publishing releases was launched in early 2012 and continues on this September with a four-city national tour for Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce that will bring them to fans in Carle Place, NY; Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; and Burlington, MA.


The Magic Tree House series is a perfect blend of magic, adventure, history, science and danger, with topics ranging from kid favorites (pirates, ninjas, pandas) to classroom staples (rain forest, American Revolution, Abraham Lincoln) to seasonal (Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving). There are currently 48 Magic Tree House books and 26 Fact Trackers, the nonfiction companions to the fiction titles that are co-authored by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce. All Magic Tree House books are available in print, ebooks, and Listening Library audio books, which are all narrated by Mary Pope Osborne. This past summer, Magic Tree House #49: A Perfect Time for Pandas—the 49th book in the Magic Tree House series—and Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #26: Pandas and Other Endangered Species released on July 24th. Magic Tree House #44: A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time will be available in trade paperback on September 25, 2012. Visit for more information about the series, activities and more.

The Magic Tree House Classroom Adventures Program is a free, comprehensive set of online educational resources for teachers. Complete with lesson plans, curriculum guides, and creative activities, the Classroom Adventures Program incorporates every book in the series, including the nonfiction Fact Tracker titles, enabling teachers to build upon students’ interest in Jack and Annie’s adventures, while simultaneously meeting core curriculum standards across a multitude of subjects. Educators can learn more at


MARY POPE OSBORNE is the award-winning author of more than 100 books for children and young adults, including novels, retellings of mythology and folklore, picture books, biographies, and mysteries. From 1993–1997, Ms. Osborne served as president of the Authors Guild, the country’s leading organization for published authors. She has traveled extensively in the US and abroad, visiting schools and speaking on issues related to children’s literacy. She recently spoke at the UN regarding the importance of worldwide literacy. She resides in Connecticut.  Ms. Osborne is also the coauthor of the companion Magic Tree House Fact Trackers series with her husband, WILL OSBORNE, and her sister, NATALIE POPE BOYCE.

SAL MURDOCCA has illustrated over 200 children’s trade and textbooks. He is also a librettist for children’s opera, a video artist, an avid runner, hiker, and bicyclist, and a teacher of children’s illustration at the Parsons School of Design. Sal lives and works in New York with his wife, Nancy.

RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN’S BOOKS is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, ebooks, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series.

The company’s website, Kids@Random (RandomHo offers an array of activities, games, and resources for children, teens, parents, and educators. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG, a leading international media company.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Expect to sacrifice some sleep, you won't be able to put this one down!

I don't even bother to read a synopsis of her books any longer.  If I see Maggie Stiefvater on the cover, I know I am going to be blown away.  Every book she writes is original, mysterious, fast-paced, and gripping.  I go in knowing nothing, and I come out the other side breathless and wanting more.  One of these days it will take me longer than two days to read one of her books, but that would mean tearing the book out of my hands to get some sleep.

The Raven Boys is a different creation from what we have come to expect in Maggie's books, but no less magnificent.  There was a part of me that missed the poetic writing of Maggie Stiefvater - her words are like music in Shiver - but The Raven Boys showed that Maggie can write in different styles, and still be brilliant. 

In The Raven Boys, we meet Blue Sargent, the daughter in a family of clairvoyants.  Blue is unable to see what her mother and aunts see, but her presence has the distinct ability to intensify the powers of those around her.  Unfortunately for Blue, her family has seen her future - the first boy Blue loves, and kisses, will die.

On the night of St. Marks Eve, Blue's Aunt Neeve brings her to where the soon-to-be dead whose spirits walk the night. Blue is not a seer, but on this night, she sees someone...

"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love . . . or you killed him."

Anglionby Academy is a local prep school filled with what Blue calls Raven Boys, due to the emblem on their school sweaters.  Blue meets a tight group of these privileged boys from the school: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah.  She already has a connection to one of them, but they are on a quest that goes beyond cars, school, and vacation homes. They are in search of the ley line, which is a supernatural path which leads to a tomb, and its royal occupant.  Blue and the boys team up and their decisions become a matter of life and death.

I had to laugh.  There was one character in the book that, at first, seemed like a throw-away part.  But, I even said out loud to Maggie (even though she was several states away, yet could hear me loud and clear), "Who is this guy? He seems unimportant now, but you don't create characters without purpose.  What is it about this one?  Who is he??"  Maggie, I apologize for my moment of doubt, you came through with a thunderous boom.

Maggie Stiefvater does not disappoint with The Raven Boys.  If you're already a fan, you know what I mean, you're with me on this.  If you have never read her books, they are fantastic, all of them. 

Maggie Stiefvater is one of those superb writers whose books draw us adults over to the YA shelf.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Scholastic Authors performing a scene from The Raven Boys!

Synopsis:  (From publisher)
Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there — known as Raven Boys — can only mean trouble.

Book Extras:
Official Site
Sample the First Chapter
Scholastic Page

About the Book:
  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545424925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545424929

  • About the Author:
    Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races. She is also the author of Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. She lives in Virginia with her family. You can visit her online at and on Twitter @mstiefvater.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Review: Shelter by Harlan Coban

    Consider me a new fan of Harlan Coben!  Shelter is an exciting start to this new YA mystery series!

     Mickey Bolitar's year can't get much worse. After witnessing his father's death and sending his mom to rehab, he's forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools. Fortunately, he's met a great girl, Ashley, and it seems like things might finally be improving. But then Ashley vanishes. Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that Ashley isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

    First introduced to readers in Harlan Coben's novel Live Wire Mickey Bolitar is as quick-witted and clever as his uncle Myron, and eager to go to any length to save the people he cares about. Follow Mickey Bolitar on his next adventure in Seconds Away, coming out in Fall 2012

    A while ago, a friend with impeccable taste in books recommended that I read Harlan Coben's books, but it wasn't until he came out with this new YA series that I started paying attention.  I read SHELTER in about a day and a half and loved it. It was fast-paced, witty, and had heart.

    Mickey Bolitar is an extremely likable character - smart, funny, athletic and broken. He's a hero I could not help but root for. In his new school, he immediately befriends the two most awkward kids, who become his sidekicks.  Spoon is the son of the school janitor, and Ema is an overweight goth girl who is the daughter of...well, I don't want to give that secret away just yet.  I can see this series as a favorite for YA Boys!

    If you read my reviews, you know that my biggest pet peeve in series books is when there is no resolution, and no satisfaction, in the first book.  Cliffhangers without resolutions? Not for me.  No worries here.  SHELTER has a beginning, middle and an end, but leaves readers wanting for more.  The cast, even the peripheral characters, are set up well and leave room for growth. 

    I have not yet read the Myron Bolitar series.  In fact, I didn't even know there was a Myron Bolitar series until after I had read SHELTER and started poking around into Harlan Coben's other books.  I would have guessed that Myron had secrets of his own from SHELTER, but now that I know he has his own series, you can be sure I will read his story now!

    Like any great mystery series, SHELTER is full of interesting characters, suspenseful secrets, and a boatload of twists and turns that will keep those pages flying.  I highly recommend this series for both young adults...and the not-so-young adults.

    **Stay tuned for my review of SECONDS AWAY the 2nd book in the Mickey Bolitar series.

    **Also stay tuned for my contest to win copies of SHELTER, SECONDS AWAY and a Mickey Bolitar tote bag!

    Book Extras:
     Mickey Bolitar website
    Harlan Coban Website, Facebook, Twitter
    Complete Novel List
    Twitter - @PenguinTeen
    Facebook - @MickeyBolitar

    About the Book:
  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142422037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142422038

  • About the Author:
    Harlan Coben is the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of numerous adult novels. His books are published in 41 languages--with over fifty million copies in print worldwide--and have been #1 bestsellers in over a dozen countries. He lives in New Jersey.

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Author Inteview: Mike Mullin

    I would like to welcome a very special guest to Alison's Book Marks this morning.  Mike Mullin, author of ASHFALL and its sequel ASHEN WINTER, has so graciously agreed to stop by! 
    First of all, thank you, Mike, for coming by Alison’s Book Marks, I’m thrilled to have you. 

    It’s my pleasure to be here. Thanks for hosting me!

    I am a HUGE fan of ASHFALL, which easily earned one of the top spots on my Best of 2011 List,  and the sequel ASHEN WINTER proves to be just as powerful! 


    We really should have done this interview when we met back at BEA – I was too busy gushing and thinking up fun book-blog-war ideas.  

    BEA was crazy! And fun. Probably easier to do the interview now.

    You're right.  Now that I’m in a relatively calm place, I’m ready.  Are you ready? 

    I’m ready!
    I always find it fascinating to know what our favorite authors would be doing if by some turn of fate pointed them in a different direction.  If you weren't writing, what would you be doing instead?

    I could see myself as a teacher, librarian, or bookseller. For a while I toyed with the idea of getting a doctorate and teaching at the university level. I even took a couple of classes before realizing that I just don’t like school enough to bother with a doctorate. My publisher offered to hire me as a marketing director, but I said no. I really just want to write!

    You would have rocked the front of any lecture hall, Professor Mullin, but I am glad you chose writing instead of teaching, or marketing.  I have to say, I think it's a huge testament to you and your work ethic that Tanglewood wanted you around their offices on a daily basis!  There is obviously more behind the man than writing.  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

    I read! I eat books like a hyena snapping up mice. Become my friend onGoodreads if you want to see everything I’m reading and talk books with me. I also train in taekwondo, hike, ride my bicycle, canoe, and play computer games. My wife and I enjoy cooking, trying new restaurants, drinking wine, visiting state parks, picnicking at Symphony on thePrairie, and, um, logical other stuff that doesn’t probably need to be spelled out in a family-friendly blog, right?
    Ahem, yes, thank you for that!  Speaking of family and kid-friendly...Which book hooked you when you were a kid?

    My favorites changed as I grew. From age two to four it was Where the Wild Things Are. My younger brother and I had a special ritual for it—when Mom reached the words, “’And now,’ cried Max, ‘let the wild rumpus start!’” we would begin to dance. We didn’t need any music, just the example of Max and his subjects over the three full-page spreads that followed. The other book I loved at that age was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. When Darla is geeking out over construction equipment in ASHFALL, I’m definitely writing what I know.

    By kindergarten, Peter Pan had supplanted Sendak. I even went so far as to organize a production of it in my backyard. I recruited classmates to act, held rehearsals, and scheduled a big opening night (well, afternoon) with parents and classmates comprising the audience. When Mom asked why I didn’t have a role in my own play, I told her indignantly, “I can’t act—I’m the director.” The young actor assigned to play Captain Hook froze up with stage fright so bad he peed his pants. I convinced Dad to jump in and improvise the role.

    Our family was firmly middle class, and I got all the usual stuff for Christmas: Lincoln Logs, Legos, even a bicycle one year. But the best Christmas gift of my childhood was the one I got while I was in fourth grade—a boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia. I read the series eleven times over the following year, keeping count with hash marks inside the front covers. That year I’d been placed in a gifted and talented class with a particularly mean-spirited teacher, Mrs. Walsh, and C.S. Lewis provided me with a much-needed escape. Once, I escaped in a literal as well as figurative sense—Mrs. Walsh interrupted her excruciatingly boring lecture about reading to scream, “Michael Mullin, if you’re just going to read that book under your desk, you can go out in the hall to do it!” Busted! So I calmly got up, left the classroom, and settled in one of the study carrels in the hall to finish The Horse and His Boy.

    As a teenager, I needed the escape books provided even more desperately. I read adult science fiction and fantasy voraciously, but my favorite book was one written for teens: Tunnel in the Sky by Heinlein. It described my perfect world—one without adults, where teens could live without the oppressive constraints of parents and teachers. Like the protagonist, Rod Walker, I was interested in primitive survival at that time. I practiced building shelters, foraging for edible plants, and matchless fire starting, both on my own and with the Boy Scouts. Today I prefer a lighter or matches for starting fires and hotel rooms over improvised shelter, but I still enjoy foraging for edible wild plants.

    With ASHFALL, I attempted to write the sort of book I would have loved as a teenager. So I dispense with all the adults in Alex’s life in the first chapter, much as Heinlein did in Tunnel in the Sky. And though the positive reviews and awards ASHFALL has garnered have been thrilling, my highest hope for my work is that it will provide a few teens what Heinlein, Lewis, Peck and so many other authors provided me: a few hours of blissful escape from a childhood that was sometimes difficult to endure.


    Do you identify with any of your characters? Which one?

    Externally, Alex is based on a fifteen-year-old third-degree black belt, Ben Alexander, who I met when I started taking taekwondo classes. But internally, Alex is based on myself as a teenager. Both of us struggled with an inner rage and propensity to violence. Both of us were forced to cope with the self-loathing and fear that is the aftermath of violence. What if I hadn’t stopped fighting? One of the defining moments of Alex’s childhood was when he walked away after kicking his sister’s bully in the face, rather than continuing to fight. One of the defining moments of mine was when I held another boy’s head in my hands and somehow found enough self-control not to smash it against the sidewalk. Even after a supervolcano, there are no monsters beyond us as terrifying as the monsters within.

    In ASHFALL, Alex confronts a world in which he must use violence to survive.  One of the pivotal moments in the story comes when Alex has an opportunity to kill a man who has severely wounded him. Alex chooses to flee instead, searching for a place where he can die in peace.  When given a stark choice between survival and retaining his humanity, Alex chooses his humanity.  But instead of dying, Alex meets Darla and discovers a new reason to value survival.

    Alex is similar to me as a teenager in other ways. His greatest dream is to earn the respect of those closest to him. He knows his family loves him, and he’s desperate to find them, but they still see him as a kid. Even Darla initially sees him as a helpless hanger-on, a leech. To earn the love and respect he craves in the midst of the worst natural disaster in recorded history, Alex will have to shed his teenage skin and become a man.

    I think he's well on his way.  Just as a reader, I was engrossed in Alex's struggle, and how he rises above the fear and grows up an awful lot within those pages.  A catastrophe like that certainly brings out the worst, as well as the best, in people.  It's a scary world you built there, and nothing that is outside the realm of possibility.  What is in your super-volcano survival kit? (We especially want to know which book are you grabbing!)

    I don’t have a supervolcano survival kit, although I do have a plan for a supervolcano. You ready for it? Here it is: I’ll die. Here’s why:

    The super volcano I depict in ASHFALL would directly kill hundreds of thousands—maybe millions of people. But the bigger death toll would be from global starvation and disease in its wake. Twenty percent of the world’s grain supply is produced in the United States, primarily in areas that would be buried in ash. Globally, we have less than a 60-day supply of stored grain. Starvation would reach epidemic levels very quickly following a supervolcano eruption.

    In thinking about who would survive and how, I found this research on the Donner party very useful. I have two strikes against me: I’m too old, and I’m male. Being female roughly doubles your odds of survival in a starvation situation. Women start out with an average of a third less muscle mass and higher body fat than men. So they both need fewer calories to survive and have a greater reserve.

    Being between the ages of 6 and 35 also roughly doubles your odds, and I’m past that. (Only by a day or two . . . maybe. Ha!) The other thing that roughly doubles your odds is having family close. While my wife and I are lucky enough to have both sets of parents in town, they’re obviously even older than we are.

    So my odds aren’t good. If the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts tomorrow, my goal will be to try to live the short remainder of my life in a way that helps the younger generation survive and rebuild.

    If I did have a supervolcano survival kit, I’d put When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency in it. That book has been invaluable to me as a research tool for writing ASHFALL, ASHEN WINTER, and the final book in the Ashfall trilogy, tentatively titled SUNRISE.

    Thank you so much for answering my questions!  It was a pleasure meeting you, and I do hope to see you again!

    Thanks for hosting me! I don’t have any East Coast tour dates at the moment, but when I do, I’ll post them here. If any of your readers live near Indianapolis, please invite them to stop by the ASHEN WINTER launch party—it’ll be a blast!

     Author Bio
    Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.

    Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel.  His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.

    It's been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex's relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this trilogy. It's also been six months of waiting for Alex's parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex's parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

    The first two chapters are available on the author's website:
    Social Media Links

    Purchase Links
    Barnes& Noble
    TheBook Depository

    Review: ASHEN WINTER by Mike Mullin

    Just as riveting as the first...and the first knocked my socks off!

    Synopsis: (from publisher)
    It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

    I felt like I was early in "discovering" Mike Mullin's debut YA novel, ASHFALL (review HERE), and it has been a pleasure to cheer it on and see how the buzz has picked up steam.  So, the big question: does the sequel live up to the first?  You bet your ass it does!

    I gasped for the first time at page 6 - SIX! - and the action Did. Not. Stop.

    As Alex and Darla head back out into the post-supervolcano world, the panic they saw before has given way to the need for survival at any cost.  Unfortunately, there were bad people before the ash, and after the ash they became strong and banded together to prey upon the weak. Among the rival cannibal gangs, corrupt government officials and slave traders, there are a few communities fighting to maintain a relatively normal way of life.

    I flew through this book, just as I did the first.   (550 pages in two days - sleep is for the weak)  The action is so heart-pounding, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Here's the thing, though, I never felt like there was a twist or turn that didn't have purpose. Each conflict had a reason, aiding in the world-building, answering questions about the rest of the country, and supporting the characters physically moving forward in their mission, as well as keeping the character development moving.

    Readers will be pleasantly surprised by some characters from the first book who make another appearance, like our lovable librarian, Rita Mae.

    We are also introduced to a few new characters as well - in particular we have two new members of Alex's group, Ben and Alyssa, a brother and sister pair that have had a particularly horrific time since the Ashfall.  Alyssa is crazy, in my opinion, but Ben? I wanted to wrap him up and bring him home with me. I adore this new character!

    This book is far from pretty. It will make you think.  It will entertain you. It will frighten you. It will suck you in and not let you go until long after you've turned the last page.

    There was so much action in this book, I felt like I barely had time to catch my breath before Mike Mullin had my heart pounding again! 

    Highly recommended!

    Book Extras:
    Mike Mullin author website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Blog, Google+, Pinterest

    About the Book:
  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 594 pages
  • Publisher: Tanglewood Press (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933718757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933718750

    About the Author: (from publisher)
    Mike Mullin first discovered he could make money writing in sixth grade. His teacher, Mrs. Brannon, occasionally paid students for using unusual words. Mullin’s first sale as a writer earned ten cents for one word: tenacious.
    Since then, Mullin has always been involved with literature. One of his early jobs was shelving books at Central Library in Indianapolis. Later, he paid his way through graduate school in part by serving as a reference assistant. He has worked in his mother’s business, Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore, for more than twenty years, serving at various times as a store manager, buyer, school and library salesperson, and marketing consultant.
    Mullin wrote his first novel in elementary school — Captain Poopy’s Sewer Adventures. He’s been writing more or less nonstop ever since, but fortunately for his readers, Ashfall will be his first published novel.
    Mullin holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Visit for more info about the author and Ashfall and its sequel, Ashen Winter.

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    In My Mailbox

    THE BLOOD KEEPER (The Blood Journals #2) by Tessa Gratton
    (Random House BFYR; August 28, 2012; HC 432 pgs; Ages 14+)
    Paranormal romance fans who are looking to up the ante will be drawn to this tale of horror, fantasy, and romance. For Mab Prowd, the practice of blood magic is as natural as breathing. It's all she's ever known. Growing up on an isolated farm in Kansas with other practitioners may have kept her from making friends her own age, but it has also given her a sense of purpose—she's connected to the land and protective of the magic. And she is able to practice it proudly and happily out in the open with only the crows as her companions. Mab will do anything to keep the ancient practice alive and guard its secrets. But one morning while she is working out a particularly tricky spell she encounters Will, a local boy who is trying to exorcise some mundane personal demons. He experiences Mab's magic in a way his mind cannot comprehend and is all too happy to end their chance meeting. But secrets that were kept from Mab by the earlier generations of blood magicians have come home to roost. And she and Will are drawn back together, time again by this dangerous force looking to break free from the earth and reclaim its own dark power,

    KISSING SHAKESPEARE by Pamela Mingle
    (Delacorte BFYR; August 14, 2012; HC 288 pgs; Ages 12+)
    A romantic time travel story that's ideal for fans of novels by Meg Cabot and Donna Jo Napoli--and, of course, Shakespeare.

    Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school's staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

    Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she'd like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he's a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen's really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.

    Miranda isn't convinced she's the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it's her only chance of getting back to the present and her "real" life. What Miranda doesn't bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

    TOUCHED by Cyn Balog
    (Delacorte BFYR; August 14, 2012; HC 320 pgs; Ages 12+)
    Nick Cross always listens to the voice in his head. Because if he doesn't? Things can go really, really wrong. Like the day he decided to go off script and saved a girl from being run over . . . and let another one drown. Trying to change the future doesn't work.

    But this summer at the Jersey Shore, something's about to happen that Nick never could have predicted. He meets a girl named Taryn and finds out about the Book of Touch. Now the path that he thought he was on begins to shift . . . and there's no way to stop things from happening. Or is there?

    In a life where there are no surprises, nothing has prepared Nick for what he's about to discover--or the choice he will be forced to make.

    UNDER MY HAT: Tales from The Caultron (the Dresden Files 2.5) edited by Jonathan Strahan
    (Random House BFYR; August 28, 2012; HC 432 pgs; Ages 12+)
    Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Diana Peterfreund, Margo Lanagan, Peter S. Beagle, and Garth Nix are just a few of the authors who have toiled over their cauldrons and conjured up bewitching new creations inspired by and celebrating the might and mystery of the witch. Assembled by one of the most well-regarded anthologists in the science fiction/fantasy world, this rich, intelligent collection will enchant readers of all ages

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Children's Books for Fall!

    When my boys were younger, seasonally-themed books always captured their attention.  My older son's Kindergarten teacher always had a rack of books at the front of her classroom library filled with these types of books, which were always changing, and always shiny and new to the kids.  I took her lead and started offering "seasonal" books to my children. 

    I don't read aloud picture books to my boys any more (*sniff*) but new seasonal books still catch my eye and I wanted to share a few with you today.

    DUCK AND GOOSE FIND A PUMPKIN by Tad Hills(Schwartz & Wade; July 28, 2009; Brdbk 22 pgs; Ages 2+)
    Tad Hills is a favorite of ours.  The illustrations are always perfect, the stories are humorous, and his characters are kind.  Duck and Goose see their friend, Thistle, carrying a pumpkin, so they go out in search of their own pumpkin.  This is perfect to read prior to, or right after, the annual trip to your local pumpkin patch! 


    (Knopf BFYR; August 28, 2012; HC 40 pgs; Ages 5+)
    Hercules, the class guinea pig, has a good life. He notices how the children plants seeds and make things grow.  During summer break, he too plants seeds.  He waits and waits, until the teacher comes in one day in October carrying a pumpkin that mysteriously grew in the backyard.  Hercules is proud of his accomplishment and his patience, and is already thinking about what he'll grow next year.  Planting seeds in a styrofoam cup is something all children do at some point, but the beauty of it is that it never gets old.  The life cycle of a plant is not only miraculous, it is the foundation of any good earth science curriculum.  This book is a perfect companion to this classroom staple and perfect for the fall!

    BEDTIME FOR BOOK by Mickie Matheis, Ill by Bonnie Leick(Golden Books; August 28, 2012; HC 32pgs; Ages 2+)
    After his first night haunting with the bigger ghosts, little Boo is too excited to go to sleep.  His mom settles him down by asking him to close his eyes and listen to all the musical sounds of his house that eventually lull him to sleep - from the flapping of bats and the howling of wolves, to the creaking of doors and the ticking of clocks.  You may not have the same creaking, groaning and whooshing in your own home, but it's a perfect bedtime book that is almost musical with its words.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Remembering September 11, 2001: A letter

    Dear Wayne,

    So much has changed in the eleven years since you were taken from our family, but I am happy to report, some of those changes have been good.  Really good. I wish you were here to see them...then again, maybe you're working your magic up there.

    For a long time, it felt like the humor had been sucked out of our holidays and celebrations, and we were just going through the motions, but lately there has been more laughter than tears.  Births, milestones, and yes, especially the seven year old who makes me laugh almost as much as you did, remind us that there is still so much to be thankful for. By the way, are you his guardian angel?  Whoever has the job is doing excellent work, and deserves a raise.

    The bar is completely different and moving forward.  We went in there just a few weeks ago, and toasted to you. The changes that the new owners have made are really nice. Even though it's strange not to see your name on the window, it doesn't feel like you and Tommy and the rest of the crew are haunting the place anymore.  I like to think that it's given you the freedom to set up a Hobson's Choice in your, ahem,  new location.  Hey, you've got to watch the Redskins somewhere, right?

    She's happy.  How could she not be with the big smile that greets her every morning and that head full of golden curls?  The pain of loss may never fully go away, but there is a new normal, a moving forward and the looking ahead of more good things to come. Good changes there too. Not perfect, we don't expect perfect, but I think these changes were meant to be.

    My 10 year old started asking questions last year.  It's so hard to explain to children. Are they old enough? What will they understand? How much information is too much? We took his lead, answering his questions as best we could.  The hardest part was pointing to your picture on the wall, showing him the uncle he would never get to meet.  He has seen the strength of our family, though. He has seen us mend.  And while we will always remember you and be connected to this date in a very painful way, we continue to look at the limitless possibilities of the future.  I hope we make you proud.

    The new World Trade Center building is rising into the sky before our very eyes, and we all heal a little bit more with each floor that goes up.  It's huge, dominating the skyline as it should. It's a fitting reminder to the strength of the city and our country.  This fall, we're planning to bring the boys to the Memorial and see your name. It sucks they didn't get to know you, but don't worry, we will only tell them the good stuff about you.  We'll save the crazy stories for when they're a little older.

    Every year this day is a tough one, but this year is somehow different, a little easier. There's more light than sadness, more dancing than crying, more laughter than anger.  We are letting go of the hate, the anger, the fear and the sadness.  We are embracing the future and opening ourselves up for the joy it holds.  We will never look at the WTC and not think of you and what might have been.  Whenever the skyline comes into view, there is a silence that falls over the car, like a prayer.  But, no matter what, the music is turned back on and the conversations pick up where they left off. 

    I know you're looking down and laughing right along with us, nudging us forward.  We will always miss you, and smile at the memory of you. 


    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Mailbox Monday

    Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme where bloggers come together to share the books they receive for review, buy from bookstores and book fairs, and borrow from the library. Mailbox Monday is on tour and is currently hosted by Jennifer D @ 5 Minutes for Books.

    Since I buy, borrow and recieve books for review across all age groups and genres, I thought it might be a good idea to break up my kids' books (Middle Grade through Young Adult) and my Adult books. This, my friends, is where you will find my adult books. Find my MG and YA books on Sundays at In My Mailbox. 

    THE ART FORGER by B.A. Shapiro
    (Algonquin Books; October 23, 2012; HC 304 Pages)
    On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist with her own scandalous past, is about to discover that that there's more to this crime than meets the eye.

    THE ROOTS OF THE OLIVE TREE by Courtney Miller Santo
    (William Morrow; August 21, 2012; HC 320 pgs)
    Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women—an unbroken line of daughters—living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California.
    Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. An indomitable force, strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin. Though they lead ordinary lives, there is an element of the extraordinary to these women: the eldest two are defying longevity norms. Their unusual lifespans have caught the attention of a geneticist who believes they hold the key to breakthroughs that will revolutionize the aging process for everyone.
    But Anna is not interested in unlocking secrets the Keller blood holds. She believes there are some truths that must stay hidden, including certain knowledge about her origins that she has carried for more than a century. Like Anna, each of the Keller women conceals her true self from the others. While they are bound by blood and the house they share, living together has not always been easy. And it is about to become more complicated now that Erin, the youngest, is back, alone and pregnant, after two years abroad with an opera company. Her return and the arrival of the geneticist who has come to study the Keller family ignites explosive emotions that these women have kept buried and uncovers revelations that will shake them all to their roots.
    Told from varying viewpoints, Courtney Miller Santo's compelling and evocative debut novel captures the joys and sorrows of family—the love, secrets, disappointments, jealousies, and forgiveness that tie generations to one another.

    THE CUTTING SEASON by Attica Locke
    (Dennis Lehane Books/Harper; September 18, 2012; HC 400 pgs)
    Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a riveting thriller that intertwines two murders separated across more than a century.
    Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the past and the present coexist uneasily. The estate's owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction, complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar cane for generations, and now replacing local employees with illegal laborers. Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property, her throat cut clean.

    As the investigation gets under way, the list of suspects grows. But when fresh evidence comes to light and the sheriff's department zeros in on a person of interest, Caren has a bad feeling that the police are chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she ventures into dangerous territory as she unearths startling new facts about a very old mystery—the long-ago disappearance of a former slave—that has unsettling ties to the current murder. In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie's history and her own, Caren discovers secrets about both cases—ones that an increasingly desperate killer will stop at nothing to keep buried.

    THE PROMISE OF STARDUST by Pricelle Sibley
    (WilliamMorrowPB; February 2013; PB 416 Pgs)
    From author website:
    Matt Beaulieu was two years old the first time he held Elle McClure in his arms, seventeen when he first kissed her under a sky filled with shooting stars, and thirty-three when he convinced her to marry him. Now in their late 30s, the deeply devoted couple has everything—except the baby they’ve always wanted.
    When an accident leaves Elle brain dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear the thought of life without her, he knows Elle was afraid of only one thing—a slow death. And so, Matt resolves to take her off life support.
    But Matt changes his mind when they discover Elle’s pregnant. While there are no certainties, the baby might survive if Elle remains on life support. Matt’s mother, Linney, disagrees with his decision. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive on machines. Linney is prepared to fight her son in court—armed with Elle’s living will.
    Divided by the love they share, Matt and Linney will be pitted against each other, fighting for what they believe is right, and what they think Elle would have wanted resulting in a controversial legal battle that will ultimately go beyond one family . . . and one single life.

    (William Morrow; September 4, 2012; HC 352 pgs)
    In A Father First, we meet the coaches, mentors, and teammates who played pivotal roles in Dwyane's stunning basketball career—from his early days shooting hoops on the neighborhood courts in Chicago, to his rising stardom at Marquette University in Milwaukee, to his emergence as an unheralded draft pick by the Miami Heat. This book is a revealing, personal story of one of America's top athletes, but it is also a call to action—from a man who had to fight to be in his children's lives—that will show mothers and fathers how to step up and be parents themselves.

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    In My Mailbox

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where bloggers come together to share what is showing up in our mailboxes, in our library totes, and in our shopping bags. Since The Story Siren is a YA blogger, I am going to feature YA and MG books on this meme. There is another Meme that I will start doing every so often on Mondays called Mailbox Monday, cool? Excellent!

    Young Adult:

    SKINNY by Donna Cooner
    (Scholastic; October 2012; HC 260pgs; Ages 12+)
    Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies’s head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she’ll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.

    SHELTER (Mickey Bolitar #1) by Harlan Coben
    (Speak; September 2011; PB 304pgs)
    Mickey Bolitar's year can't get much worse. After witnessing his father's death and sending his mom to rehab, he's forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools.

    A new school comes with new friends and new enemies, and lucky for Mickey, it also comes with a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems like Mickey's train-wreck of a life is finally improving - until Ashley vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let another person walk out of his life, Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that this seemingly sweet, shy girl isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon, Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem like a luxury - and leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew

    FORETOLD: 14 STORIES OF PROPHECY AND PREDICTION by Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, Laini Taylor, Meg Cabot, Heather Brewer, and others.  Edited by Carrie Ryan
    (Delacorte BFYR; August 28, 2012; HC 368 pgs; Ages 12+)
    Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate?It's human nature to wonder about life's twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?
    From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life's unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction's brightest stars

    YESTERDAY by C.K. Kelly Martin
    (Random House BFYR; September 25, 2012; HC 368 pgs; Ages 14+)
    THEN: The formation of the UNA, the high threat of eco-terrorism, the mammoth rates of unemployment and subsequent escape into a world of virtual reality are things any student can read about in their 21st century textbooks and part of the normal background noise to Freya Kallas's life. Until that world starts to crumble.

    NOW: It's 1985. Freya Kallas has just moved across the world and into a new life. On the outside, she fits in at her new high school, but Freya feels nothing but removed. Her mother blames it on the grief over her father's death, but how does that explain the headaches and why do her memories feel so foggy? When Freya lays eyes on Garren Lowe, she can't get him out of her head. She's sure that she knows him, despite his insistence that they've never met. As Freya follows her instincts and pushes towards hidden truths, the two of them unveil a strange and dangerous world where their days may be numbered. Unsure who to trust, Freya and Garren go on the run from powerful forces determined to tear them apart and keep them from discovering the truth about their shared pasts (and futures), her visions, and the time and place they really came from. Yesterday will appeal to fans of James Dashner's The Maze Runner, Veronica Roth's Divergent, Amy Ryan's Glow, Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Ally Condie's Matched

    DIVA (Flappers #3) by Jillian Larkin
    (Delacorte BFYR; July 10, 2012; HC 320 pgs; Ages 12+)
    Parties, bad boys, speakeasies—life in Manhattan has become a woozy blur for Clara Knowles. If Marcus Eastman truly loved her, how could he have fallen for another girl so quickly? Their romance mustn't have been as magical as Clara thought. And if she has to be unhappy, she's going to drag everyone else down to the depths of despair right along with her.

    Being a Barnard girl is the stuff of Lorraine Dyer's dreams. Finding out that Marcus is marrying a gold digger who may or may not be named Anastasia? A nightmare. The old Lorraine would have sat by and let the chips fall where they may, but she's grown up a lot these past few months. She can't bear to see Marcus lose a chance for true love. But will anyone listen to her?

    Now that the charges against her have been dropped, Gloria Carmody is spending the last dizzying days of summer on Long Island, yachting on the sound and palling around with socialites at Forrest Hamilton's swanky villa. Beneath her smile, though, Gloria's keeping a secret. One that could have deadly consequences .

    Middle Grade:

    THE WEDNESDAYS by Julie Bourbeau; Ill. by Jason Beene
    (Alfred A. Knopf BFYR; August 14, 2012; HC 256 pgs; Ages 8-12)

    EIGHTH GRADE IS MAKING ME SICK by Jennifer L. Holm; Ill by Elicia Castaldi
    (Random House BFYR; August 7, 2012; HC 128 pgs; Ages 8-12)

    Early Chapter Books:

    ZIG ZAG KIDS #6: SUPER SURPRISE by Patricia Reilly Giff
    (Wendy Lamb BFYR; August 14, 2012; HC 80 pgs; Ages 6-9)

    (Random House BFYR; August 28, 2012; HC 96 pgs; Ages 6-9)

    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Review: Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates

    I love Dog!

    We first met Dog when he loved books so much he opened up a bookstore in Dog Loves Books, which has become one of my staple book-gifts for children. In Louise Yates's new book, Dog receives a new book, a gift from his Aunt, but this one is blank!

    Dog starts out with simple doodles, but soon enough the creative juices are flowing and he and his friends go on a journey reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon.  Dog had so much fun drawing and creating his own book, he even drew a special thank you card to send to his Aunt Dora.

    I just adore the illustrations in this book.  They are eye-catching, yet simple enough not to be too busy.  They become more and more colorful as the story goes on, pulling readers into the excitement of the story. 

    There aren't too many words on a page, something that parents who worry about that "one more book" at bedtime lasting just a few minutes too long. Instead, Louise Yates fills her pages with words and drawings in such a way that draw a child's eye to the words themselves, like "door" and "stop", encouraging a child to naturally read along.

    More than anything, I celebrate the creativity of Dog, and hopefully he will inspire children to pick up their crayons and draw, scribble, sketch, and paint.  In this world where video games and electronics are at every turn, I hope that children are still scribbling on walls! 

    A perfect read-aloud for any child!

    Book Extras:
    Louise Yates website

    About the Book:
  • Reading level: Ages 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375870679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375870675

  • About the Author: (from publisher)
    LOUISE YATES began drawing pictures to go with the stories she wrote for school and, at a young age, began telling people that she wanted to be a children's book illustrator. She studied English at Oxford University, and currently attends The Prince's Drawing School. She lives in London and is at work on more picture books

    Every Saturday, Julie at Booking Mama hosts Kid Konnection, where she features a book or anything related to children's books, middle grade, YA literature. Feel free to visit the post each Saturday, comment, and link up your own Kid Konnection post.

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Review: Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide For The Rest of Us by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner

    Hilarious!  I laughed out loud before I even finished reading the Contents!

    Take the Sh*tty Mom Quiz...go ahead.  You know what you'll learn? That you are, like most of us, a Sh*tty Mom.  And this is ok.  The first step is acceptance, but the difference between this book and other parenting books is that this one will help you to be a sh*tty mom and come out the other side with good kids and a clean conscience.

    This book isn't for everyone.  For example, if you brought a back-up pacifier instead of wiping your shorts on the one you just dropped on the ground before sticking it back in your baby's mouth, this book is not for you.

    Sh*tty Mom is broken up into twelve sections, each consisting of a few short chapters. The moms take you through it all - from the last thing you need to do before you give birth (yes, get your roots done) and how to sleep until 9 AM every weekend (preparation is key), to how to put a stop to the awful nickname your father-in-law gave your kid and what to do when it comes to your attention that your kid is merely average. 

    I was actually smacking myself in the forehead at how the Sh*tty moms prep the house for the kids on a Friday evening!

    Every chapter is full of hilarious tips, tricks, and truths, but be warned, the moms aren't all jokes and f-bombs. They lend a lighthearted hand in some of moms' more important duties - how to make sure your kid doesn't become a PDA-hole, how to leave your kids to go on a business trip, and how to celebrate when you think your kid might be gay.

    Throughout the book, the Sh*tty Moms have also put helpful tips every Sh*tty Mom should remember in a box with a light bulb.  For example:

    "Some moms make athletes, Sh*tty moms make fans.  Somebody's got to yell at the TV on Super Bowl Sunday."

    This team of authors pushes the envelope, gets their readers laughing, and reminds all of us moms, you don't have to be perfect to get it right.

    I highly recommend this book as a gift for the new mom or a mom-friend in your life that needs to brush up on her Sh*tty Mom skills. 

    Book Extras:
    ABRAMS book page
    Official website, Twitter, Facebook , Pinterest, YouTube

    About the Book:
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419704591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419704598

  • About the Authors (from publisher)
    Laurie Kilmartin is an Emmy-nominated writer for CONAN on TBS, and, as a stand-up comedian, has appeared on CONAN, Last Comic Standing, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Comedy Central. She lives in Los Angeles with her son. Karen Moline is a journalist and author who has written more than two dozen nonfiction books, as well as two novels. Karen and her son live in New York City. Alicia Ybarbo is a four-time Emmy award–winning producer. She has worked on NBC’s TODAY show since 2000. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Three-time Emmy award–winning producer Mary Ann Zoellner has worked at NBC news for 16 years. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters
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