Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guest Review: When Can You Start? by Paul Freiberger

When Can You Start? How to Ace the Interview and Win the Job by Paul Freiberger

Guest review by Kari

copy for review, but all opinions are our own

Author's Website- http://www.paulfreiberger.com/

Official Summary: In a tough job market, only a select few succeed at the interview process. What sets them apart? The interview is the last step in a long and important process. It is a make-or-break moment with the potential to change your life. For this performance, you need to be as ready as you’ve ever been. In this book, Shimmering Resumes President Paul Freiberger guides you through every step of job interview preparation and offers practical, effective, and proven tools to ace the interview and win the job. You will learn how to:

• be ready for The Only Question You Must Be Able to Answer
• (not) tell the interviewer about your weaknesses
• answer any trick question or oddball question
• ask the right questions
• be confident in any interview situation
• avoid interview mistakes
• negotiate the salary you deserve

Discover the best ways to research your chosen industry and companies before you even begin your job search. Master phone, panel, and one-on-one interviews. Turn any type of question to your advantage by speaking to your strengths. Know the best way to present yourself if you’re reentering the workforce, need to explain gaps in your resume, have jumped from job to job, or have stayed in the same job for a long time. And never be tongue-tied again when an interviewer turns to you and says, “So, tell me about yourself.”

Review: When Can You Start? by Paul Freiberger is an excellent source on how to get through an interview with confidence. Interviews are probably the most nerve wracking experiences everyone has to go through in their lives. If you are like me, the thought of an interview scares you. I have been out of college since December 2011 and I’ve had my fair share of interviews, without much success (the economy doesn’t help the situation). After reading this book, I definitely feel more comfortable.

The first thing you learn is how important it is to do your research. This is something I’ve always known, but it gives advice on how to find information on your industry of choice. It also tells you what information you should know and how your resume should reflect on what the industry is looking for in an employee.

One of the best pieces of information Freiberger gives his readers is how informational interviews can help you prepare for an interview in your job of choice. If you contact people in the industry and set up an interview, you can learn about the pros and cons of the position you are seeking. It also gives you the opportunity to expand your network. I really enjoyed learning about this part of preparation.

Freiberger also gives details on how to handle informational, phone, individual, and panel interviews. He explains how to deal with each situation. He also helps you understand the reasoning for each type of interview. Another nice aspect of the book is the examples he gives you. I love the fact that he gives you a list of questions you should be prepared for in your interview and what types of questions should be asked of the employer.

This informational book really does make the reader feel more comfortable about going into an interview. Interviews are always hard and you may not be able to anticipate each question, but if you do what Freiberger tells you to do, you will definitely feel more comfortable walking into that room. I highly suggest this book to those who are graduating college or those who are preparing to switch jobs. It’s an easy book to read and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. He even gives you some history on how the interview came to be what it is today!

Monday, April 29, 2013

I'm With Stupid by Geoff Herbach Blog Tour!

One of my current Shooting Stars Promotion clients is Geoff Herbach, whose novel I'm With Stupid comes out May 8, 2013! You may have heard of Geoff's previous two novels in the Felton Reinstein trilogy, Stupid Fast and Nothing Special. Before I started working with Geoff on promotion for the final novel, I'd already read, reviewed, and loved the first two! (Stupid Fast and Nothing Special reviews!)

Geoff is currently on a blog tour to show off his new cover for I'm With Stupid, as well as celebrate this trilogy coming to a close.

Follow the tour at the following links (the first post, includes a hilarious guest post, went up today- be sure to leave comments on the other blogs!):

April 29th: http://www.shelfspaceneeded.blogspot.com (Geoff's post here)
May 2nd: http://reviewingshelf.wordpress.com/ (Geoff's post here)
May 5th: http://www.tigerlilyrachel.com/ (Geoff's post here)
May 6th: http://selkiereadsstories.blogspot.com (Spotlight post here)
May 8th: http://evie-bookish.blogspot.com/ (Geoff's post here)
May 9th: http://www.bewitchedbookworms.com/ (Guest post and win one of the books here)

Be sure to pre-order or order your copy soon!

Amazon- $8.99

The Book Depository- $9.82 (but free shipping)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who Says...Mom's Can't Be Dorks?

I said I was going to try and start a new feature called "Who Says?" which is essentially all about discussion and sharing about fun things. So far, I've only had one post...sorry about that!! However, with Mother's Day coming up...

Who Says Mom's Can't Be Dorks?

It seems like most people come up with the same ideas for mom's on Mother's Day (May 12 in the U.S.) like perfume, a gift card, chocolate, flowers, jewelry, etc. But what if you're mom is a nerd/dork/geek? I'm sure they would love to get something a little more exciting and different!

One of my own gifts for my mom this year falls under this category, but I'm afraid I can't share until after May 12...since my mom reads my blog. I can't ruin it!

However, I can share some other nerd-tastic ideas moms out there might enjoy.

And remember: Share your thoughts! Moms, do you want a non-typical gift? Everyone- would you get your mom one of these gifts or something else more unique? Have you ever done so in the past?

ThinkGeek is certainly trying to help all your geek moms out there, by putting together fun packs with various themes. As you can see from the above photo, one such pack is all about Doctor Who!

You get- Tardis bath/beach towel, Tardis coasters, Tardis Acrylic Cup, and River Song's Tardis Journal!

Buy this whole set for $49.99 (originally $61.96)

Click this link to find other sets (Maternal Happiness, Big Bang Theory, etc.) as well as other top geek gifts for mom!

Is your mom the only lady in the house? Maybe she's alone with your dad, or maybe all your siblings are boys. Whatever the reason, I think any "dorky" mom would enjoy this Fanny Rosebottom's Lavatory Mist to keep the bathroom smelling nice after those boys take over!

You can currently get this for $11.95 and it says it lasts for about 500 applications! There are other types of bathroom sprays, but those are usually focused more toward the guys. I think this is a perfect option for a mom with a good sense of humor!

I know there are plenty of you bloggers out there that are moms. Wouldn't you like your child and/or husband to get you something that includes your love of blogging? I know I'd love this candle in general, as I really do love blogging and it's so cute!

Buy your Keep Calm and Write a Blog candle for $28!

You get a variety of scents to choose from, as well as other Keep Calm candle ideas. If you don't like anything they are currently selling, you can design your own through the site!

I know candles are something a lot of moms get for Mother's Day (or any other gift giving time) but these are a bit more unique and fun, and you know the person buying it really thought about you and your likes!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review- Isabella: Star of the Story

Isabella: Star of the Story by Jennifer Fosberry, pictures by Mike Litwin

Review by Lauren

copy for review, but all opinions are my own

Official Summary: An everyday visit to the library becomes an unexpected adventure through the pages of classic children's book favorites! Like Goldilocks, Isabella searches for a book that is juuust right.

Should she host a silly tea party in Wonderland with the Mad Hatter? Take a Technicolor trip through Oz with the Cowardly Lion? Or have a swashbuckling good time with the Lost Boys?

Join Isabella as she imagines herself in the starring role of these beloved stories and discovers the extraordinary power of reading. Anything is possible between the pages of a good book!

Review: I've been aware of the first book in this series of picture books for awhile now. It's titled My Name is Not Isabella and it's something I hope to buy for my niece when she's a little older. However, I was given the chance to read/review Isabella: Star of the Story (the third book after My Name is Not... and Isabella: Girl on the Go) and I had to accept! I'm very glad I did because I just know I'm going to love all the Isabella books, though this one might be a personal favorite...since it deals with books!

Isabella visits the library with her parents, on the search for books to read. When she finds something, she pronounces that she is not Isabella, but instead one of these characters- like Peter Pan or Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Of course, the pictures throughout the book are just adorable! I loved that each page that focused on a character incorporated both the library and the book's world.

One aspect of the pictures that I thought was a nice touch are on the pages right before a new character. The story has Isabella proclaiming she is not the previous character, as she's about to become a new one...and on the page right before, there is a miniature picture that clues you in to who is next. For example, Alice's has a piece of a cake with a sign Eat Me in front. Little details like this make the mix of text and pictures brilliant in my opinion! I love when they really work together and add a little something else to enjoy apart from the obvious.

Isabella is a spunky little girl who knows what she wants and who she likes, and when she's loving books, how can you say no to this adorable purple-haired reader?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger + The Movie

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

Review by Lauren

copy sent for review, but all opinions are our own

Official Summary:

Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at Goodkind High School.

Then his online gay chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school's baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students, too. There's his best friend Min, who reveals that she is bisexual, and her soccer-playing girlfriend Terese. Then there's Terese's politically active friend, Ike.

But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves?

"We just choose a club that's so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call it Geography Club!"

Review: I'm a huge fan of LGBT literature, and I think there should be more published by the bigger publishing companies, especially for Young Adults. However, one of those classic titles is Geography Club, which was released ten years ago! Can you believe it? I know I can't believe it took me ten years in to finally read the novel, and I'm so happy I finally had the chance.

Geography Club isn't about huge events, but that's not important. It deals with emotions and feelings- the ones you want, the ones you don't, and the ones you just don't understand. Yet. I loved that the Geography Club wasn't just about kids that fall under the LGBT spectrum, but encompassed anyone that felt like they had to hide their true selves or just wanted a place they could truly fit in. That's something I can relate too, and I'm sure many others could as well.

There are more stories about Russel out too, which is exciting, since sometimes you don't want to stop reading about characters you've started to enjoy. Russel doesn't always do the right thing and sometimes you want to yell at him to think about things more, but he's genuinely a good guy. He knows when he's wrong and he does try to make up for things in time. I can respect someone like that for sure, and hopefully I'm not the only one who is Team Russel. I also love Brian Bund, who is kind of the school's social pariah, but just wait until you get to know him better!

Overall, this was an enjoyable, quick read, and I'm excited to check out the next three titles!

Other Books in the Russel Middlebrook series-

The Order of the Poison Oak

Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/ Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies

The Elephant of Surprise (released this year!!)

Geography Club the Movie!

That's right, Geography Club is now a movie, being released later this year (I don't have an exact date, but I can't wait and I hope it's somewhere near me so I can see it ASAP).

Please Visit the Movie Page to Watch the Trailer!

Brent had this to say about the cast (read more of the interview here):

It’s got a pretty amazing cast too: Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise), Marin Hinkle (Two and Half Men), Ana Gasteyer (SNL), Allie Gonino (The Lying Game), Allie Maki (Ten Things I Hate About You), Andrew Caldwell (Transformers), and Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray, Smash). Russel and Kevin are played by two relative unknowns, Cameron Deane Stewart (Pitch Perfect) and Justin Deeley (90210), but they’re both just terrific.


Another member of the cast I'm excited about is Alex Newell (who plays Ike) because he came from last season's The Glee Project. He's currently on Glee as Wade 'Unique' Adams. It will be exciting to see him in a feature film and as another character! Congrats to him on doing more beyond Glee!


If your high school had a Geography Club (aka Gay/Straight Alliance), would you join?

I definitely would have! I know my college had a version of it which I joined and really enjoyed for awhile. I think it's an important club to have, and it allows a lot of people a place to go and fit in.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: Remainder by Tom McCarthy

Remainder by Tom McCarthy

Review by Lauren

My own copy, but all opinions are still our own

Official Summary: A man is severely injured in a mysterious accident, receives an outrageous sum in legal compensation, and has no idea what to do with it. Then, one night, an ordinary sight sets off a series of bizarre visions he can't quite place. How he goes about bringing his visions to life-and what happens afterward-makes for one of the most riveting, complex, and unusual novels in recent memory.

Review: This is probably one of the strangest novels I've ever read, and yet, I loved it. This is another title for my Contemporary British Studies class (which has proved to be quite fascinating, in terms of what we've read), and I'm glad I was made to read it because I don't think I would have known about it otherwise. McCarthy's novel is imaginative and unique and all sorts of crazy. It's seriously hard to explain this book without giving things away...not that you couldn't describe a lot of it and still not have it really be ruined. It's one of those books you have to read for yourself.

The narrator of this book is never given a name, you never know what his mysterious accident was, and the book ends in the middle of an event. Now, that doesn't mean the end is a cliffhanger. You can certainly tell what will ultimately happen to the narrator and those he has pulled into his "schemes" (if you want to call them that...)

On a basic level, this narrator has a deja vu moment where he thinks he remembers an apartment building, aspects of that residence, and even some of the people that inhabit the rooms. With all this money the narrator finds himself with, he decides to recreate this memory/imagining, even hiring actors to re-enact motions and jobs. It sounds insane, and it is, but it's also very fascinating. There is also a sense of dark humor to it all which has you laughing at moments that you really shouldn't be. One of those, chuckle while you shake your head type things. Obviously, the narrator's "madness" gets worse and his re-enactments start to take on a more darker and riskier nature.

See? It's very hard to explain. If you've read it, you understand. If you have not, then I suggest giving it a try. It's a fairly fast read and would make for some awesome discussion (if you can get someone else to read it with you!) But if you read it soon and wish to talk about it, let me know! I'm more than happy to keep talking about this book after the discussions my class had.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (15)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases people are excited for.

Title: Parallel
Author: Lauren Miller
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Release Date: May 14, 2013


Your path changes. Your destiny doesn't. 
Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.
With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.
As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.
Why I want it:
I've had my eye on Parallel since last year; it sounds awesome! Part of it is set at college (I think, based on what the summary says), which I'm really excited about (seeing as how I am in college), and it is something that I would love to see more of. And parallel lives (worlds/timelines/etc.) have always fascinated me. 
I can't wait to get a copy. Less then a month to go! Bonus: the cover is sooooo pretty! 
What are you waiting on?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci

Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci, art by Sara Varon

Review by Lauren

copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

Due Out May 14, 2013

Official Summary: Theodora is a perfectly normal duck. She may swim with a teacup balanced on her head and stay north when the rest of the ducks fly south for the winter, but there's nothing so odd about that.  Chad, on the other hand, is one strange bird. Theodora quite likes him, but she can't overlook his odd habits. It's a good thing Chad has a normal friend like Theodora to set a good example for him.  But who exactly is the odd duck here? Theodora may not like the answer. 

Review: Odd Duck is a seriously adorable graphic novel. It says it's for ages 5 and up, and I'd agree with that. Obviously, the messages you learn in Odd Duck are suitable for any age but it's always great to start kids out young knowing that it's okay to be different (or have friends/family members that are!) After all, everyone is a bit quirky in their own way, right?

Castellucci writes an easy-to-read (or read-aloud) story with a duo of fun characters in Theodora and Chad. As for Varon, I've never seen her work before but I'm definitely a fan. All the pages are in full color and each page is full of whimsical drawings, with a lovely amount of smaller details. Along with these fun additions, Castellucci has little notes on many of the pages that are part of the story, yet not the main narration or dialogue. For example, there are some scenes where Theodora is shopping and next to certain ducks, it will say, for example, "(Gabe, the grocer, Good Duck)."

While this is certainly a book with a message, it's not one that I felt hit you over the head. It's essentially along the lines of: Theodora is quite fine being on her own until she finds someone similar to her...but what if he's not the odd one, and she is? Is that so bad?

Question for the Comments: What makes you an "Odd Duck"?

As for me, I think I'm very odd in a lot of different ways. I love smelling books, especially graphic novels (Odd Duck smells very good, by the way!) and sometimes I find myself doing it in public...whoops! I'm also one of those people that start using a word or phrase for awhile; it kind of becomes my thing, even though it's not even on purpose. At one point, it was the word "issues." And finally, I love watching British TV or movies, but if I do for awhile, I start randomly breaking into a British accent...though I can't hear it! It's usually my sister that has to point out that it happened.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Guest Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Guest Review by Kari
Copy sent for review, but all opinions are our own

Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson is the second book in the Shades of London series. This book is the sequel to The Name of the Star and continues to follow Rory Deveaux after her experience with the Ripper. The book begins with Rory recovering in Bristol with her parents and it shows her going to a therapist, who she is not allowed to talk to. Before she left London, she was told that she could not have contact with the Shades, the secret ghost fighting police, ever again. She even had to agree to never speak of them. This left her alone trying to deal with her ability to see ghosts and her new ability to destroy them with one touch. It isn’t long though before she gets sent back to Wexford, her boarding school in London.
Rory may have helped get rid of the Ripper, but her fight with him is still affecting her. When Rory gets back to school, she struggles with classes and with her relationship with her boyfriend, Jerome. To make matters worse, Rory soon learns about a murder in a pub close to her school. She starts to get a theory that her struggle with the Ripper may have released previously trapped ghosts. The only good thing about her return is that she is contacted by the Shades and they tell her they know about her new ability to destroy ghosts.

The book follows Rory as she and the Shades search for the truth behind the murder at the pub. It also allows the reader to see Rory’s struggle with getting back to her routine before the Ripper. Her experience really changed her. Her challenges in the last book cause her to make some questionable decisions which may just lead her and the Shades into dangerous situations.

Johnson’s second book in the series is definitely worth reading. It isn’t as fast paced as the first, but it is still a great story. The author’s ending makes the reader wish the third book was already out. There is something about these characters that make you wish you knew them. I promise that once you read the first two books in the series, you will be hooked!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Movie Themed Slots Games

Online slots games are more popular than ever, and this could be due to the fact that gambling in online casinos has become so convenient and easy to use. There are big payout rates, ad impressive sign up bonuses, and the newer games are much more interactive. For added fun and nostalgia, you can play slots games online that are themed with your favourite movies past and present.
Tomb Raider is a great example of a popular movie themed online slots game. Movie themed games such as this one incorporate clips into the game for added enjoyment and to create a real video game feel for the experience. In the Tomb Raider game, you are treated to an introductory clip of the Lara Croft character in an action sequence.  The game has 15 paylines and the maximum bet you can make is 5 coins per payline. There are lots of different combinations you can win with.
Another great movie themed online slots game is 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly'.  Right from the start of the game, the famous theme tune and Wild West style sound effects create a great atmosphere for the player, pulling you into the theme of the game in a fun and exciting way. It is a 5 reel game, and has 20 paylines. There are two great bonus features as well, and you can go on to win jackpots.
Slots have been a staple favourite in both land based and iphone casino sites for a long time now, and the quality of the games have only got better to match the increased demand for exciting games. The graphics and interactive features are much more elaborate, particularly with the movie themed online slots, creating the same kind of atmosphere the video game versions have for gamers.

Sponsored post, published by permission from Shooting Stars Mag.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (14)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases people are excited for.

Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Dial
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: August 15, 2013


 You stop fearing the Devil when you're holding his hand... 

 Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White's sleepy, seaside town...until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet's crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet's grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet's already so knee-deep in love, she can't see straight. And that's just how River likes it.

A gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and F. Scott Fitzgerald, set against a creepy summertime backdrop--a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Why I want it:

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is another one of my most anticipated books for 2013. I have been drooling over it ever since the deal was announced. It just sounds AMAZING AND I WANT IT RIGHT NOW! *ahem*

I'm also totally in love with the cover. August 15th seems way too far away!
What are you waiting on?


Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Crap Kingdom by DC Pierson

Crap Kingdom by DC Pierson

Review by Lauren

copy sent for review, but all opinions are our own

Official Summary:




With this mysterious yet oddly ordinary-looking prophecy, Tom's fate is sealed: he's been plucked from his life and whisked away to a magical kingdom to be its Chosen One.

There's just one problem: The kingdom is mostly made of garbage from Earth. Okay, well, two problems: the king hates Tom. Also, the princess likes to wear fake mustaches. And being Chosen One seems to consist mainly of cleaning out rats' noses at the Royal Rat-Snottery.

So, basically, the kingdom sucks.

When Tom turns down the job of Chosen One, he thinks he's making a smart decision. But when Tom discovers he's been replaced by his best friend Kyle, who's always been cooler, more athletic, and better with girls, Tom wants Crap Kingdom back—at any cost. And the hilarity that ensues will determine the fate of the universe.

Review: Crap Kingdom is anything but crap! It's an amusing book that is sure to please either gender, which is always a plus when it comes to YA.

Tom Parking has always wished there was another world out there; particularly one where he could be the hero. When he finally gets his chance to be the Chosen One of an unnamed kingdom (Tom dubs it Crap Kingdom...because, well, he thinks it's crap), it's not at all what he imagined. Being the Chosen One doesn't seem to be an honor and the King would be quite happy if Tom returned to his own world.

Of course, once Tom turns down his Chosen One title, he realizes that he might have missed out on something great. Though to be fair...his best friend Kyle seems to get a way better deal than Tom was offered in Crap Kingdom.

Regardless, Crap Kingdom needs Tom and Kyle, whether they want to admit it or not and the two boys find themselves in the life-and-death situations they could only ever imagine before!

Like I said in the beginning, Crap Kingdom is definitely not a crap book and I highly enjoyed reading about Tom, the kingdom, and Tom's "real" life on Earth. Pierson is a clever writer, sure to amuse and entertain readers as they learn all about this imagined world and everything it contains.

On a basic level, Crap Kingdom might seem suitable for a slightly younger audience (minus the word Crap, if that bothers you), but it's definitely a teen novel. There is mention of kissing, possible sex, etc. but nothing graphic or too intense. I think it would be a great title for boys that don't read often.

The end of Crap Kingdom wraps up enough, yet leaves it open for more adventures, and I certainly hope there will be!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Finds: All Men of Genius

I can't remember if I've ever done a Friday Finds post before, but I've been aware of the meme (hosted by Should Be Reading) for awhile...and I thought I'd take part this week as I found a book that I really wanted to share with everyone!

I currently work at one of my local libraries and while putting books away on Tuesday night, I came across a book that really jumped out to me; the title and cover were both interesting enough for me to open the book and read the inside summary really quick. After doing so, I knew I wanted to remember this one, so I wrote the title and author down on a piece of paper and went back to work!


All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen

Inspired by two of the most beloved works by literary masters, "All Men of Genius "takes place in an alternate Steampunk Victorian London, where science makes the impossible possible. Violet Adams wants to attend Illyria College, a widely renowned school for the most brilliant up-and-coming scientific minds, founded by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian Age. The school is run by his son, Ernest, who continues his father's policy that the small, exclusive college remain male-only. Violet sees her opportunity when her father departs for America. She disguises herself as her twin brother, Ashton, and gains entry. But keeping the secret of her sex won't be easy, not with her friend Jack's constant habit of pulling pranks, and especially not when the duke's young ward, Cecily, starts to develop feelings for Violet's alter ego, "Ashton." Not to mention blackmail, mysterious killer automata, and the way Violet's pulse quickens whenever the young duke, Ernest, speaks to her. She soon realizes that it's not just keeping her secret until the end of the year faire she has to worry about: it's surviving that long.

My Thoughts: Though this summary doesn't say, the book in my library did, so I thought I'd share--this book is inspired by Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. If you've read either of these (I've personally read both) then that might have been obvious from the summary, or may be now, but I thought it would be cool to share what "beloved books" this novel was inspired by!

Apart from that, I just think it sounds like an amazing story. I love Shakespeare and Wilde, so that has me excited already. I think the concept is a bit different and sounds like a lot of fun. I really hope to get to this one soon (and it helps that my library has it).

Goodreads seems to have some fairly positive reviews as well if you want to add it to your own wish list!

You can also buy it for $15.46 at The Book Depository (free shipping!)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Author Post: Liz Coley on a Most Important Book

Pretty Girl- 13 by Liz Coley is a book that I've been excited to read for awhile now. It came out last month, and I must get my hands on a copy ASAP! I think a trip to the bookstore is in my near future with this one. However, whether you have read this one or not, I am happy to share with you a lovely guest post from Liz about one of her Most Important Books.
Official Summary:
Pretty girl
13 when she went missing
lost to her family to her friends to the world
found but still missing her self
When thirteen-year-old Angela Gracie Chapman looks in the mirror, someone else looks back–a thin, pale stranger, a sixteen-year-old with haunted eyes. Angie has no memory of the past three years, years in which she was lost to the authorities, lost to her family and friends, lost even to herself.  Where has she been, who has been living her life, and what is hiding behind the terrible blankness? There are secrets you can’t even tell yourself.

Visit Liz Coley on her website and check out the guest post below!

The Most Important Book Ever – The Secret Garden

By Liz Coley

 Much as I identified with the tortured hero of Dr. Seuss’s I had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, the first book that touched me to the core was The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was fortunate in my choice of a British mother, who read aloud with the correct Yorkshire dialect, making sense of all the tricky apostrophes and altered vowels.

 While I wasn’t an orphan like Mary Lennox, nor left to a recluse’s care in an English manor-house, I related to her story. She was a grouchy child; right or wrong, I considered myself a grouchy, somewhat miserable child. My favorite characters were Lucy in Peanuts, Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh, and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. In spite of a perfectly normal childhood, I remember declaring with all the angsty melodrama I could summon, “If only I had a bottle to collect all the tears I’ve ever cried!”

Why wasn’t the world more beautiful to me? I searched the back of my closet for Narnia; twice I dreamed of secret chambers hidden in the oak footboard of my bed; I jumped off ladders with an open black umbrella; I dressed in pink, hid in an alibaba, and tried very hard to become a genie/fairy named Ella. Still, it seemed the magic wasn’t for me.

Mary Lennox’s life was lonely, colorless, and miserable until she discovered her secret place, the walled garden where things unloved and forgotten lay dormant, waiting for love to make them bloom. Miraculously, Mary found this otherworldly place in the mundane world. The idea that such things were possible was a heart-expanding, mind-blowing notion for me. I had a crush on Dicken for his gentle way with people and nature. I felt sisterly affection for Colin both in his tantrums and in his getting better. This hidden place where children both healed the earth and healed each other’s physical and emotional wounds was profound. In elementary school, I didn’t have the words or concepts for what I felt, just a sense that this story was very profound and very important.

 I love walled gardens. I love secret niches and low ceilings and cozy places. I love places we can call our own, make our own. I love microworlds where we can find peace and truth and healing.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Movie: Olympus Has Fallen

Review by Lauren

IMDB Summary: Disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.

Review: To be honest, I didn't want to see this movie. I knew my brother did (still does) but that makes sense. It just didn't seem like a movie I would like. However, a friend of mine and my sister both wanted to go and there really wasn't any other movie options, so I agreed to check it out.

By now, you can probably tell where this review is going.

Yes, I actually enjoyed Olympus Has Fallen. It's definitely an action-packed film. If you don't like action of any kind, then you probably won't enjoy the movie. But if you're curious to check it out or the guy (or sister) in your life is pushing you to go, you might find it more enjoyable than you first thought.

I'm not one of those Gerard Butler groupies, so I haven't seen him in much, but I can say he's great as Mike Banning. You can tell how much he loves his job and how he's half a person without it. This is why he runs to aid the White House, seemingly without a second thought. Thank goodness he does, or the President and the United States would most likely be doomed.

Yes, that part is a bit ridiculous and far-fetched. Do we really believe one man can do what so many others are unable to? Probably not, but it makes for one kick-ass hero in an action flick.

Apart from Butler, I felt like all the actors did a great job. I was really amazed by Melissa Leo's character, Secretary of Defense, Ruth McMillan. She holds out against the terrorists (North Koreans, by the way...they do seem to be the go-to enemy for films these days) and is not one to easily back down. I thought it was great that the film showed how women can be just as strong as men and that they too are proud of their country and are willing to fight for it. Hopefully, if you see the movie, you will appreciate that addition as well.

Finally, I must mention the addition of humor. This might seem like an odd addition to an action film about terrorists attacking the White House...but it really works. Most, if not all, the humor comes from Mike Banning and it suits his character well. He's, in all honesty, a bad ass. He is willing to do whatever it takes, no matter what might happen to him in the process. He uses his humor/sarcasm in dealing with his enemies at the same time...much to the enjoyment of the audience!

The only quote available on IMDB is below, but it is a great one (Warning: use of bad language, if that bothers you):

Mike Banning: Here's a game we can play. It's called "Go Fuck Yourself". You go first.

What do you think? Is this a movie you will see? If you have already, share your thoughts in the comments!