Category Archives: New Books

Spy Mice Blog Hop & Giveaway with Heather Vogel Frederick

Books for boys…I’m not ashamed to admit as a children’s librarian it’s probably my Achilles heel…somehow very early in my career I became a certifiable princess expert within the library scene. I was always sought out when the need for girly books was crucial especially when the treasured few princess books were checked out or falling to pieces from so much child love. And while I never minded because I got to do Daddy Daughter Tea Parties and wear a ball gown skirt and tiara for programs….this became much more complicated when I was blessed with my beautiful BOY. That’s right…the Mom who knew it all for girls was blessed with the bouncing baby boy! What’s a librarian and a Mom to do? Call in the expert…a favorite children’s book author who just happens to have raised two boys. Did I mention she also happens to be fabulous at writing for girls as well? All right it must be said…she’s just plain fabulous.

Who is she you ask? Well…I always had my go-to books for boys that I trusted every time and the Spy Mice series by Heather Vogel Frederick was always one of those that I went to for reader’s advisory for boys. Spies…mice..adventure…intrigue…what’s not to like? So how wonderful is it that they are now all new in paperback with covers meant to make them irresistible to even the most persnickety of young readers both boy and girl. Lucky for me author Heather Vogel Frederick decided to drop by and answer questions about her favorite mice and their risky adventures. Not only that Stiletto Storytime and The Styling Librarian get to give three lucky readers entire newly released sets of the series. Now that’s something to celebrate! It’s a series I will no doubt be stocking for my boy for on down the reading road. So read on and learn more about this great series and remember to enter to win on the form below by simply sharing your favorite fictional spy.

SPY MICE Q&A

 Author Heather Vogel Frederick

 Q:  What’s the best part about the relaunch of your SPY MICE books?

 A:  Knowing that new readers will have a chance to discover them!  These books are dear to my heart, and I had a blast writing them.

 Q:  What do you think of the new look?

 A:  Fabulous!  I couldn’t be happier.

 Q:  Can you tell us how the books came about?

 A:  Sure.  Not that long ago, in a galaxy not that far away, I had a bright idea. I’d write a story that would pay homage to my misspent youth, or at least the part of it misspent in the living room watching television. I grew up during the heyday of spy-fi TV, addicted to such shows as Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, and The Avengers.  My 12-year-old self loved them all.  I loved the glamour, the gadgets, the whole cool factor of espionage, at least as Hollywood portrayed it.

 Grown-up me knew exactly where to set the story. The seed for that idea had been planted when I’d filed away a newspaper clipping about the building of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., along with a scribbled reminder.  (Note to self: Great setting for a story, à la E. L. Konigsburg’sFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.”)

 I noodled around with the concept for a while, came up with a great main character (an aspiring fifth grade spy whose James Bond moves were seriously lacking), but something was missing.  And so I set the story aside and waited for that je ne sais quoi.  And waited.  I’ve learned to trust my muse—she often makes me wait, but she always comes through.  One day, the words “spy mice” drifted into thought, and I was off and running.

 Q:  Do you have a favorite character?

 A:  Mouse or human?

 Q:  Let’s start with mouse.

 A:  Well, the evil rat mastermind Roquefort Dupont is really fun to write, and I have a soft spot for Bunsen (Burner, a shy lab mouse).  I love it when he blushes—which he does often, because he has a crush on secret agent mouse Glory Goldenleaf.

 Q:  And the humans?

 A:  There’s a lot of me in fifth grader Oz Levinson, alas.  When I was his age, we both shared the same awkwardness, the same Walter Mitty-esque delusions of grandeur, complete with deflating reality checks. And we were both bullied.

 Q:  Really?

 A:  Yep.  I was plump, shy, and wore glasses, the trifecta of bully bait back then, at least in my particular corner of suburbia.  Nowadays, schools talk much more openly about bullying, and really make an effort to both prevent the problem, and give kids the tools to deal with it more effectively when it does crop up.  Back then, it was just something to be endured.

 Q:  Would fifth-grade you have appreciated a mouse ally?

 A:  Are you kidding me?  I would have been ecstatic.

 Q:  Who’s your favorite fictional spy?

 A:  Oz may dream of being James Bond, but when I was his age I dreamed of being Emma Peel from The Avengers.  No one wears a black leather catsuit like Emma does.

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Filed under Author Interviews & Posts, Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Heather Vogel Frederick, Middle Grade, New Books

Blog Tour: Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo

“On the surface, Lunch with Buddha is a story about family.  Otto Ringling and his sister Cecelia could not be more different.   He’s just turned 50, an editor of food books at a prestigious New York publishing house, a man with a nice home in the suburbs, children he adores, and a sense of himself as being a mainstream, upper-middle-class American.  Cecelia is the last thing from mainstream.  For two decades she’s made a living reading palms and performing past-life regressions.  She believes firmly in our ability to communicate with those who have passed on.
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It will turn out, though, that they have more in common than just their North Dakota roots.
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In Lunch with Buddha, when Otto faces what might be the greatest of life’s difficulties, it is Cecelia who knows how to help him.   As she did years earlier in this book’s predecessor, Breakfast with Buddha, she arranges for her brother to travel with Volya Rinpoche, a famous spiritual teacher — who now also happens to be her husband.”

Sometimes a book comes along just when you need it….just what the Doctor ordered as they say. This book turned out to be one such for me. As Otto Ringling searches for meaning after his beloved wife’s death along a spiritual journey he couldn’t have possibly predicted….so have I searched for meaning since my son’s descent into autism. It’s in our very nature to try to find meaning when things happen in our lives that impact us in ways we don’t understand or cannot make sense of. Especially those events that devastate us to the very core of our beings. Some find meaning in religion…others in philosophy or even simple ideas like fate. Otto finds his in the most unlikely of places as he makes a life changing journey with his serene his brother-in-law in a beat up old pick up truck. Within the pages of this book I found more of a spiritual search that perhaps I myself truly needed…not really specific to any religion in my personal opinion but more of a look into the divine in general. It’s both simple and magical at the same time. While I have not read the first novel Breakfast with Buddha, I did not find myself at a loss. This book stands very firmly on it’s own. However I will be reading the first novel as soon as I get a chance. I also look forward to the other works of Roland Merullo in the future.

The thing I have to say that I enjoyed most was how comfortable the writing was, even the book itself just felt peaceful. It’s almost like a warm second skin to slip into during a storm. The writing is straight-forward, not flashy or overly deep and yet it still reaches you in places that only truth can. It was the perfect book for a certain time in my life and I think it would resonate with many on multiple levels.

TLC Book Tours  Book Giveaway

I’m happy to be able to share a copy of this book with one lucky reader at Stiletto Storytime. To enter just comment below and share how you reach a place of peace in hard times. It may be through religion, meditation, a favorite quote?  Giveaway will end midnight EST December, 19 2012 and is available to a US/CAN addresses only. The lucky winner will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

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Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

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Tweet and/or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Christmas Books Giveaway Hop with Author Heather Vogel Frederick

christmas books hopIt’s that time of year again folks! I’m not going to lie…I love Christmas. I always have and having a three year old now who is literally obsessed with Christmas has only made it more special. One of my favorite things about Christmas has also always been that extra reading time and if I am lucky bookstore gift cards coming my way or even that one special book under the tree on Christmas morning. So to celebrate I am participating in the Christmas Book Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer & Laurie Here. This great giveaway hop has over 120 blogs participating and giving away one or more Christmas themed tomes. Make sure to check out the participating blog list here.

This holiday season I decided to team up with the always lovely, talented and extremely generous Heather Vogel Frederick so we could provide some very lucky reader with copies of her fifth installment in the fabulous Mother- Daughter Book Club series:  Home for the Holidays. It’s the perfect read for Mom or Daughter…or even better Mom and Daughter together. It would also make a fantastic Christmas present and I know Heather would be more than happy to sign it to that special someone if you’d like. She’s just that kind of person. A true gem of an author indeed. I have honestly enjoyed every book in this series and each can be read alone or in order so don’t worry if you’re not all caught up!

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To enter to win just comment below and let us know your favorite book to read during this time of year…it doesn’t have to be Holiday related whatsoever. For instance I often re-read my favorite classics this time of year simply because I have the time. This year I am re-reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo in preparation for the release of the movie musical. So…as you sip hot cocoa, sit by the fire and maybe just maybe…watch it snow ( who am I kidding…I live in Georgia)…what book will you have in hand?

Three lucky winners will be chosen here at Stiletto Storytime to win their own copy of Home for the Holidays by Heather Vogel Frederick. This Giveaway Hop will end on December 9, 2012 at midnight EST. This giveaway is open to US/CAN addresses only. Winners will be chosen by random number generator and notified by e-mail.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Check out Heather Vogel Frederick’s Website & Share Something You Learned/Found Interesting

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway at Stiletto Storytime (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Book Blogs, Contests, Girly Books, Heather Vogel Frederick, Middle Grade, New Books, Reading Fun, Young Adult Books

Blog Tour & Author Guest Post with Ali McNamara of From Notting Hill with Love…Actually

“Scarlett O’Brien, utterly addicted to romantic films, has found her leading man. She’s convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn’t quite like the movies. With Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime. From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure – including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie & Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie, they appear to have much in common: a love of films and Jamie’s search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she’s so in love with Sean . . “

I know I am not the only lover of British romantic comedies out there and even more so a lover of the books that these films often issue forth from. For instance take one of my absolute favorite films Bridget Jone’s Diary which of course was based upon the novel of the same name written by the fabulously clever Helen Fielding and stars my own personal vision of Mr. Darcy personified: the Colin Firth. It was from Jane Austen herself that Ms. Fielding found her inspiration in the ultimate classic Pride and Prejudice which just may be perhaps the very first and most beloved romantic comedy of all.

As soon as I saw the title to this book I knew I not only wanted to read it and be a part of the blog tour but I also had to know a little bit more about Ms. McNamara’s inspiration. The two films mentioned in the title are two of the most well known and loved contemporary British romantic comedies of modern times in my opinion..but what lay behind the films for this writer personally and ultimately led to the inspiration to put pen to paper? Well, who better to ask than the author herself….so without further ado:

Where did and do  your literary inspirations usually derive from Ms. McNamara?

Guest Post by Author Ali McNamara

“My inspirations come from all over. I got the idea for From Notting Hill with Love…Actually when I was watching one of the music channels on TV one day.  It was a countdown of the Top 50 best movie songs of all time. I just thought wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could feature as many of those movies as possible in one story, and the idea began to develop from there.

The idea for my second novel Breakfast at Darcy’s came when I was on a touring holiday of Ireland. My husband and myself were parked in our car one day overlooking the island of Great Blasket in County Kerry. We began to talk about how you would go about living on an island such as that, and how easy or difficult it would be. My initial spark of an idea began to turn into a plot for a fully formed novel, when we later went over and visited the island.

 My characters usually come from my own imagination, but my latest book, out in the UK in November, has a couple of characters that are based on real people I met when I was in New York doing research. Luckily they both agreed, and are quite happy about me basing two characters on them, I haven’t had to pretend or try to conceal anything!

 But I’m always thinking and never find myself stuck for inspiration, and even thought I’m currently writing my fourth book at the moment, I currently have ideas for at least 2-3 more books after that!”

~ Ali McNamara

 Thanks so much to the very stylish Ali McNamara for stopping by Stiletto Storytime today and sharing her novel that has just recently hopped over the pond to us lucky Americans. If you enjoy a good romantic comedy…especially one of British origins, then From Notting Hill with Love…Actually is perfect for you. And if we’re lucky soon the sequel From Notting Hill to New York…Actually which releases this November in Britain will also make it’s way over as well. Another of Ali’s books Breakfast at Darcy’s can be gotten through UK means as well if you become hooked…and that’s a very real possibility.

So in the spirit of the celebration of romantic comedies of both the film and literary type…what’s your favorite? Personally I will have to admit to being a “You’ve Got Mail” girl all the way. I watch it all the time and especially when I am feeling under the weather. It’s got everything…a cute, quirky heroine, a bookstore, Jane Austen references and the all important bad guy love interest turned Mr. Right. So which one is your favorite and why? I would love know…more to add to both my reading and viewing list. So enjoy and Happy Reading to All.

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Filed under Adult Books, Author Interviews & Posts, Blog Tour, Girly Books, Jane Austen, New Books

Jane Austen Giveaway Hop featuring Austensibly Ordinary by Alyssa Goodnight

Welcome to Stiletto Storytime’s Jane Austen Giveaway Hop stop. So glad to have so many of my dear Janeites swinging by to try and score some great Jane inspired goodies. I am especially excited to be able to offer one lucky winner a Jane Austen inspired novel that is yet to be published. Austensibly Ordinary by Alyssa Goodnight will not be officially published until January 29, 2013 but you can win an ARC now and be one of the first to enjoy this modern day romp into Jane culture. Many of you will remember Alyssa’s novel Austentatious. You can check out my review for that work here. And read below about her latest endeavor into Jane Austen inspired fiction….

Steamy, funky, and thoroughly modern, Austin, Texas isn’t much like the gardened country estates of Jane Austen’s work. But there might be a few similarities in its inhabitants…
Cate Kendall is no stranger to daydreams of brooding men and fancy parties–after all, she teaches one of her beloved Jane Austen novels in her English classes every year. But as for romance or adventure in her own life, the highlight of most weeks is Scrabble with her cute coworker, Ethan, and he draws the line at witty banter. But Cate is ready for a change. When she finds a mysterious journal that seems to have a link to the soul of the great Jane Austen herself, she knows it’s her chance. And she grabs on with both hands…
Before she knows it, Cate has invented an alter ego with an attitude, attended some seriously chic soirees, and gotten tangled up with a delicious mystery man. And she’s uncovered enough unexpected secrets about Ethan that her Scrabble partner has taken to brooding looks and unfathomable silences. It’s a positively Austenite predicament, and Cate is sure she’ll land in hot water and heartbreak–but maybe not with Jane herself to guide her…”

Sounds great right? I know you can’t wait to read it just as much as myself. In fact I will be digging into my ARC soon and posting a review here at Stiletto Storytime in the future. In the meantime let’s get to the giveaway…I’m going to make it as simply as possible for all my Janeites. Simply share your favorite Jane Austen quote. It can be from one of her novels, her personal letters…etc. Just share a moment of Jane that has stuck with you until this day. That comment below will automatically enter you into the giveaway. After all what better way to celebrate dear Jane than to share her immortal words? I can’t wait to see what everyone chooses and hopefully hear some new to me quotes as well. So think…dig deep and try to be as original as possible. I will share my own favorite when I announce the lucky winner.

 Winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address. Giveaway ends midnight EST on October 24th 2012. Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Good Luck to all and Happy Reading! And of course make sure to check 0ut all the blogs in the fabulous The Jane Austen Giveaway Hop. One to make sure you stop by is author Alyssa Goodnight’s Blog where she is giving away a copy of Austentatious.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower Author Alyssa Goodnight on Twitter

Tweet or Blog about the Jane Austen Giveaway Hop Stop at Stiletto Storytime (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, Classic Literature, Jane Austen, New Books

Blog Tour: Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

  ” I’m sitting on my couch, watching the local news. There’s Chloe’s parents, the mayor, the hangers on, all grouped round the pond for the ceremony. It’s ten years since Chloe and Carl drowned. You can tell from their faces that something has gone wrong. But I’m the one who knows straightaway that the mayor has found a body. And I know who it is.”

There’s nothing cheerful about the psychologically charged mystery that is Cold Light. In fact there is actually an undeniable coldness to the narrative, a detached almost nonchalant air to the unfolding of events that is at the heart of this novel. The way memory becomes present, past becomes in the moment and it all comes together in pieces to reveal the secrets of one series of events witnessed by many in varying ways. Young teen girls, an older man, an innocent…all pulled into a chain of events that are both chilling and dark.

At the heart of the story is Lola or Laura depending upon the time in which she speaks. An young girl from a dysfunctional family, at a young age she yearns for attention, acceptance and ultimately approval. More the anything she yearns for these things from her best friend Chloe. A kind of Queen Bee who attracts girls like Lola and Emma into her web of confidence and control then makes them compete for her attention and favor. However in this case Chloe also has a controller of her very own in the form of an older man, a man using a young girl for sexual favors while filling her head with ideas of boyfriends and girlfriends and something similar to what a young girl might think love would be like but at the same time horribly wrong and far from it. Disaster is the ending…chilling in its truth but the reader knows that from the very beginning….the only question is how the mystery will unfold and what truth will ultimately be revealed.

A skilled writer who excels at the dissection of relationships and their complex internal struggles and attached obligations, Ashworth has a knack for writing within her character’s minds. She fits easily into the mindset of her teen characters making them real and easily understood in their young mindset, needs, wants and reasoning. Lovers of British fiction will find the novel ultimately that in it’s tone and somewhat detached introspection. It is not uplifting, not happy in any way, shape or form but it is addictive. Making readers keep turning pages to fill the need to know what really happened….to know the truth that is so often just in front of them and then teasingly again and again pages away.

You can check out the book trailer for Cold Light here which is a perfectly chilling depiction of what the novel truly is about. You can also connect with author Jenn Ashworth on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to also check out all the other great blogs participating in this great tour.

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, New Books

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon: October 2012

  

It’s that time of year again readers…if you have followed Stiletto Storytime over the years at all you know this is one of my favorite events that takes place every year in April and October. This is my sixth Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon. I have worn many hats for this event. I have been a reader, a cheerleader and a co-host long into the night in April. Every experience has been special and this year I am looking forward to being simply a reader again and really focusing on the reading. So what am I reading?

                 

This year I am kind of pushing the boundaries by choosing two very long books and one shorter YA. Often it’s best to choose multiple shorter titles to keep the momentum going but this year I simply had to re-read Justin Cronin’s The Passage so I could dive into The TwelveI also chose Beta  by Rachel Cohn as my go to break book if needed since the first two books are 500-700 pages respectfully. But I am so excited to dig in and hopefully even get some reviewing and blogging done as well.

So won’t you join me? There’s still time sign up and get involved. Join hundreds of readers from all over the world dedicated to reading together for an entire 24 hours. You can sign up here. Enjoy hourly updates, mini-challenges, giveaways and so much more. So come on be a part of literary greatness…join us. I will regularly update my progress on this same post so check back and see how things are going and share your experience. Happy Reading to All!

Read-a-thon Progress 

Current Book: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Books Completed: 0

Pages Read:601

Hours Reading: 8.5

Mini-Challenges Completed: 11

Introductory Questionnaire

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Atlanta, Georgia in the USA
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The Twelve by Justin Cronin
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?  My sea salt bagel chips & chocolate covered almonds. Yum!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I am the mother of an amazingly loving and intelligent three year son who just happens to have autism…we are fighting every day and winning!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I have participated in six of these read-a-thons as a reader, cheerleader and co-host…excited this year to lay back and enjoy the ride while focusing on the reading!

Book Puzzle Mini-Challenge from One Librarian’s Book Reviews

                     

Can you guess the book title from the images above?

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Filed under Book Blogs, Challenges, Contests, Events, New Books, Reading Challenge, Reading Fun, Young Adult Books