Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Author in the Spotlight Wrap up Post + Giveaway

May Author in the Spotlight Wrap up Post + Giveaway

School is coming to an end for the summer, so I have been super busy grading papers.  One of my students won State History Day and is moving on to the National competition in June.  My son turned 16 this month and he is taller than me and my husband now.  I signed up for a writing class at the Loft Literary Center where Carrie Mesrobian, May's Author in the Spotlight teaches.  My teacher is Brian Malloy and I can hardly wait to get started.

Two days ago, I fell down some steep stairs and sprained both my ankles.  So I am stuck with my feet up in the air on the couch all weekend, resting.  I am so glad they aren't broken but I am not happy about the pain and situation I'm in.  Trying to make the most out of a bad situation.

Please join me in saying goodbye to Carrie Mesrobian.  Enter to win her award winning book Sex & Violence.  Hurry because the giveaway ends tomorrow!

 Sex & Violence Giveaway

Check out my book review of Sex & Violence. Sex & Violence is an excellent novel for the mature teen.  It is gripping, honest, raw and a bit shocking.  Evan is a swearing, beer drinking, weed smoking, girl using, character you hate to love, he is multi-faceted and trying to become a better person.  Mesrobian has captured the male teenage voice perfectly.  Sex & Violence is a great first novel and Mesrobian is a writer I want to read more of.

Sex & Violence Book review

Check out my book review of Perfectly Good White Boy which will be released in October, 2014.  Carrie Mesrobian has written a book about the decisions that every teen must face.  The biggest decision being what to do after high school but their are many other decisions teens make, like to have sex or not, to drink underage or not and more.  She has created a cast of characters that are likable, flawed and struggling to find their place in the world.

Perfectly Good White Boy Book review

Please read Carrie's guest post on male teen narrators.  She will introduce you to some new YA authors with great male characters.  You seriously should read some of her suggestions.  I certainly plan to.

Carrie Mesrobian Guest Post

Please read the author interview with Carrie.  Find out what Carrie likes to read, get some writing advice and learn the back story behind her books.  You totally need to find out how Carrie's husband reacted at the Minnesota Book Award ceremony.  Super funny.

Carrie Mesrobian Author Interview

It has been my pleasure to work with Carrie Mesrobian this month and I would like to thank her for being the May Minnesota Author in the Spotlight.  I met Carrie when she introduced Laurie Halse Anderson at her author event and since then I have been running into her all over town.  Mostly, I see her at the Loft Literary center where she works.  Anyways, I am so glad I was able to feature Carrie and her books here on Book Snob.  You need to seriously check out her website and read her jaw-dropping books.

Now go read or something.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian

Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian
To Be Released in October 2014

Sean is a junior and has just fallen in love for the first time.  His first love is Hallie, a senior and she's leaving him behind for college at the end of the summer.  He is pretty sure he is not going to college and feels limited in his future possibilities.

Perfectly Good White Boy chronicles Sean's senior year and how he navigates family, work, his ex-girlfriend and his new friendship with a girl named Neecie.  Ultimately every senior must make a decision about their plans after high school.  Sean is thinking about joining the Marines.  He wants to leave and never come back.  His Dad is a drunkard, his parents are divorcing and they live is rental house that embarrasses him.  He can't wait to get out of town.

Carrie Mesrobian has written a book about the decisions that every teen must face.  The biggest decision being what to do after high school but their are many other decisions teens make, like to have sex or not, to drink underage or not and more.  She has created a cast of characters that are likable, flawed and struggling to find their place in the world.  One of my favorite parts of the story is that everyone keeps talking about the iconic film Full Metal Jacket.  I think I might have to go and watch it again now.

Perfectly Good White Boy is not as shocking as Sex & Violence but it is similar in that it is brutally honest, gritty and raw.  Carrie captures the teenage experience once again and does not shy away from difficult teen issues.  Mesrobian is a courageous writer that older teens will love.  I love that Carrie takes on mature teen themes and does not sugar coat it or disguise them.  She just writes what needs to be written and makes it look easy.  You go, girl!

Carrie Mesrobian Author Interview + Giveaway

Carrie Mesrobian Author Interview

Carrie is the Author in the Spotlight for the month of May here on Booksnob and she has graciously agreed to answer some questions about her books, Sex & Violence and Perfectly Good White Boy.  Find out what Carrie likes to read, get some writing advice and learn the back story behind her books.

Hi Carrie,

1.     Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m almost 40. I’m married to a dude. We live in the suburbs of Minneapolis. I have one daughter and a dog. I grew up in Southern Minnesota so I’m kind of small-town in my ways. I mostly define myself in things I don’t do. I don’t camp, or hike, or fish or like to do things in noisy crowds (parades, malls, outdoor festivals, etc.) I’m highly boring. I like reading and I like writing and I like sitting around doing nothing.

For jobs, I’ve mostly been a teacher. I used to teach high school Spanish, until I realized that I don’t like singing, dancing, traveling or talking to people I don’t know, so probably that was a terrible fit – foreign language teachers tend to be sort of extroverted and what not. Also, I don’t really care about Spanish as a subject. Probably, if you’re going to spend your days teaching a subject, you should care about it a lot.

2.     What is the inspiration behind your book Sex & Violence”? 

It’s hard to remember. It started with the character of Baker. I was reading lots of YA where the girl character was this loner type with long black hair and thrift-store style and she was all ‘different’ than any other girls and I was bored of that. I wanted to see more of a Buffy Summers character; a girl who bought her clothes at the mall and did school spirit stuff and got good grades. Yet she also wasn’t averse to risk: she drank and smoked pot, she had sex, etc. Baker is kind of exactly everything a kid like Evan needed.

3.     What is the inspiration behind your new book, Perfectly Good White Boy?  Can you tell us when your new book hits the bookstores?

Perfectly Good White Boy comes out October 1 this year. And it’s inspired by my husband, really. He joined the Navy just out of high school and that decision has always rocked me. I liked thinking about that question: what would make you give up your liberty and choices for a career in the military? How do you get to that point? Do you think about it a lot? Or not at all?

I read a lot of stuff about military life and history and war stories. The idea that young men view the military as an easy choice – a direct route to being a man, as it were – fascinates me. Our military is all volunteer now so there are so many stories behind why all these people join. What problems it solves; what problems it creates. I wanted to show one kid’s life, up until the moment boot camp transforms him into the familiar product we’re so used to seeing and dismissing. I wanted to imagine that this was the life of a kid who is now fighting a war for his nation. This is where he came from and this is where we’re sending him. How each sailor, soldier, airman or Marine comes from a specific place and family life. Do we care about them as individuals, these people who fight wars we don’t have think about any more?

4.      Usually an author puts some of her own life experiences in the book.  Did you do that?  Do you have anything in common with your characters?

I tend to have most of the opinions my characters have. Like 99% of what Evan Carter thinks is something I think, especially his views on women. I’m very critical of myself as a woman so that was an easy road to travel.

The lake in Sex & Violence is the lake my grandparents had a cabin on when I was younger; that’s what I pictured the whole time I was writing those scenes. And a lot of the stuff about boxing and fighting were things my husband taught me while he was teaching me to box; we used to have a heavy bag in our basement of our old house and I’d go down there and hit it when I got anxious. Which was a lot.

Also, while I don’t have PTSD, I do have generalized anxiety, so I understand that part of Evan’s life. I’ve been in therapy before, so a lot of those experiences helped me write the Dr. Penny scenes. And in Perfectly Good White Boy, Neecie is a character with hearing loss and most of what she says about that are things that have occurred to me.

5.     Can you tell us why or when you decided to become a writer?

I started writing poems in 2nd grade. Then I always had a journal or a diary. My dad used to bring me reams of dot-matrix computer paper from his office and I used those to write stories.
Writing gave me a lot of relief in my life, helped me process crap that was happening as I was growing up in a way that was really healthy. It helped me get into the habit of quickly naming and labeling what was upsetting me or what was wrong with a situation. I like how you can be disembodied as a writer, let your words travel out in the world, in place of your body. I have a lot of weird body issues so it’s a nice haven in that respect. And it’s really the only thing I can do well, I think.

6.      Do you like to read?  What authors or books influence you?

I love to read and have always loved to read. Both of my parents are readers, but my mother was really the one who got me into reading fiction. She took me to the library every week, so she could stock up on books herself. I can’t remember not being a reader.

In terms of influence, it’s hard to say. I think Catcher in The Rye is a big influence on Sex & Violence, but I’ve never read anything else JD Salinger wrote so I can’t say if he’s an influence of that book is. Eireann Corrigan’s Ordinary Ghosts and Geoff Herbach’s Stupid Fast were also key YA books with boy narrators that made me realize I wanted to tell a boy’s story at all.

I also really like to read books that aren’t anything like my life or like how I write. I like YA, for sure, but I tend to like fantasy and science or speculative fiction in YA, too. Big concept books are fun for me, though I don’t think I’ll ever write one.

I don’t read much regular fiction, but I love Jeannette Winterson. She just knocks me out. And I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

I like to read romance novels, especially regency historical romance novels. Especially when I’m working on a book really intensely. I like knowing that I can fall into bed with a book like that, full of taffeta skirts and fancy ballrooms, and they’ll have nothing to do with what I’m writing or thinking about.

7.     I know you teach classes at the Loft Literary Center. Can you tell us about some of the classes you teach?

I mostly teach classes that are based on popular YA fiction. I’ve taught classes on The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Twilight, YA dystopian fiction, and Cassandra Clare novels. I like using these books that we’ve all read as reference points to discuss what makes or breaks a story.

I’m not sure I know how to teach anyone ‘how’ to write. I think our main purpose at the Loft is to get people excited about writing and make them feel like it’s a valuable endeavor. A lot of my students just like the time and space to write; they want to sit in class and make up fake people and hang out with other kids who like to do that, too.

8.      How do you balance teaching, writing and a family? 

I do most of my teaching in the summer time, so I have this great babysitter come mind my kid while I do that. Which is excellent, because she does things with my kid that I don’t like to do! And I have a husband who’s been willing for the last decade to be the primary wage-earner, so he doesn’t mind that we don’t keep pace with people we know who have dual incomes. And he believes in what I do and what I could do, so this is important, because that allows me to step away from family or house-hold stuff and get my writing done. This matters, because if he didn’t value my writing, then it’d be even harder than it already is to tear myself away from dealing with endless kid/household matters. Because it really is easier to do laundry or make dinner than it is to sit down and make up fake people stuff some days.

This was more of an issue before my daughter started school. But she’s 11 now so I get about 5-6 hours a day to work on my stuff, at least during the school year. I think that’s pretty lucky of me, actually. But it’s still hard sometimes when you have a kid to put your own stuff first. You don’t want to be selfish. But I think being selfish is important, because you’re showing your kid that your own dreams and work matter to you and that you’re not always going to drop everything and cater to their stuff.

Also, having one kid makes this easier. There’s a reason I have one kid. I don’t think I could handle having another kid, really. I know other people manage this but I don’t know that I’d be able to write books and be a good parent to two or more children.

9.      Can you impart some of your writing advice to us?

I think you have to find what works for you. Your personality, your preferences, your financial situation, your family situation. Telling a person they have to write every day or they have to write so many words a day or they have to write every morning at 4 am – no. I don’t know what your life is like and what your struggles are like. It’s really going to be a matter of scheduling, more than anything else. The writers who make this scheduling/time management work are ones who mostly enjoy writing, though. If you don’t enjoy writing mostly, I don’t know why you’d bother with the constant struggle to finish work or rearrange your schedule or whatever.

10.  You won the Minnesota Book Award for your book, Sex & Violence.  Can you describe your initial reaction when they called your name at the awards ceremony?

I really was shocked. I didn’t think they’d give the award to a book with my title. It seemed somewhat undignified, I guess, for so many smart librarians and book people to want to award a prurient title like that.

Also my husband screamed and freaked out and I was crocheting so I was trying to set that down so nothing would spill on it.

I was also very happy, though, because my editor Andrew Karre was there, as was an entire group of people from Lerner Publishing Group. I was glad to bring home a win for them, very much. They’ve been such an absolute pleasure to work with.

11.  In one sentence, tell readers why they should read Sex & Violence.

It’s kind of funny, sort of sad, and at times sexy, so if you go in for any of that kind of thing, maybe you’d like it?

Thanks Carrie!!

If you would like to win a copy of Carrie's book Sex & Violence please enter here;  Sex & Violence Giveaway

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

BIg Girl Panties Audio Book Review + Giveaway

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
Audio Book Review
Narrated By Katie Schorr
Length: 9 hours and 51 minutes

Big Girl Panties is the first book I have read or listened to by Stephanie Evanovich.  I was lucky to win a copy from the publisher and since I have been an audiobook junkie lately, I gave it a try.  It is a romance and I'm not really big on romances but I thought it was OK.  It was light and funny and quirky and totally weird, especially when female characters were getting spankings.  My feminist self really wanted to gag at certain parts but I persevered.

Holly the main character is a bit overweight and starts working out with a hot trainer she met on an airplane.  Of course he is owns the training business and is cute and wonderful and wealthy.  So cliche!  I really liked the workout parts of the book and the main character.  Holly was spicy and spunky and adorable.  I totally laughed out loud several times.

The narration by Katie Shorr was great!  She is easy to follow, changes her voice with each character and even throws in some southern drawl.  It is the perfect audio book for light summer listening.

I am willing to give away my audio CD book to a Booksnob follower.  It has been gently used and listened to only once.

Please fill out the form:
Good Luck

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

Sex &Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

Evan Carter is a teen who has learned to move, he has moved more times than should be counted as normal, since his mother died.  He has also learned how to make the moves on girls, not caring about the ramifications of his actions.   As the perpetual "new guy" he has learned to identify the girls who will probably say "yes" to sex.

He meets Collette at his newest school and he knows she used to date his roommate but he doesn't care.  He is hot for her, and has big plans involving a condom.  Evan's risky behavior eventually catches up to him and he is physically assaulted and beaten to a bloody pulp.
His father decides to bring Evan to the family cabin, located on a Minnesota lake in a small town, to heal.   Evan begins to see his past and his present converge and he wonders if life will ever be normal again.

Carrie Mesrobian has written a novel about teen hook-up culture and the consequences of it.  Ultimately Sex & Violence is about teen violence and its connection to sex but it is about so much more than that.  It covers a range of teen issues from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the virginity pact.  Since I teach at the high school level, I see a lot of teen fights over boyfriend/girlfriend issues and the drama goes on and on.  Mesrobian has captured this part of teen drama and culture expertly.

Sex & Violence is an excellent novel for the mature teen.  It is gripping, honest, raw and a bit shocking.  Evan is a swearing, beer drinking, weed smoking, girl using, character you hate to love, he is multi-faceted and trying to become a better person.  Mesrobian has captured the male teenage voice perfectly.  Sex & Violence is a great first novel and Mesrobian is a writer I want to read more of.  Love it or hate it, Sex & Violence is a part of the culture teens grow up in the U.S. and Mesrobian doesn't shy away from the tough nature of the subject matter.

Sex & Violence won the 2014 Minnesota Book Award.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Carrie Mesrobian Guest Post + Giveaway

Carrie Mesrobian Guest Post + Giveaway

Carrie is the May Author in the Spotlight here on BookSnob and she has written a guest post on YA male narrated books.
Carrie's books ,Sex & Violence as well as her soon to be released YA novel, Perfectly Good White Boy feature teen male narrators.  One of the books she is writing about today will be featured on BookSnob next month.  Hint:  It is the last one.  Shhhh.

Four Excellent YA Boy-Narrator Books

People make a lot of the fact that boys supposedly don’t read or that YA books aren’t marketed to boys or that something awful is happening in our culture which makes boys do something else besides pursue imaginative literacy. But I have a hard time caring about any of this, because I think the claims are sketchy and specious at best.
Instead, I’ll point out four very good YA books that feature boy-narrators and that I highly recommend.

1) Ordinary Ghosts by Eireann Corrigan

Emil Simon is funny and sad and lonely and he’s never kissed a girl.
He’s funny because all people who’ve experience death and loss are kind of funny and dry. His mother has died and his brother’s left the family and he’s trying to get through being alone with his father in an empty house. So of course, author Eireann Corrigan does something that every fantasy writer does; she gives him a magical gift on his journey through sadness: a skeleton key that opens all the doors at his private school. That’s where he meets a girl named Jade, who’s sad, too, but for different reasons.

2) Vision Quest by Terry Davis

Read this book, see the movie. Both are very enjoyable. Louden Swain is a kid with a goal – to drop a weight class in order to wrestle a formidable opponent. It sounds simple, but what’s going on in Louden’s head is very complex…and very familiar to anyone who’s ever been a teenager. The movie ends differently than the book and while I like the movie’s ending well enough, I prefer the book’s ending. Adolescence isn’t about arrival to adulthood. It’s about getting there and Davis’ ending reflects that so well.

3) Stick by Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is such a lyrical writer. I know he’d probably rather punch me than hear that, but his words are so musical and hypnotic. Stick is about a boy living with cruelty and disability, with only his older brother as an ally. It’s a book that stays with you long after you finish and the experience of seeing the words on the page, rolling about like the words that ‘stick’ in the main character’s mind – Stark McClellan only has one ear and so sound functions differently for him – is unbelievably beautiful.

4) Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

Steve Brezenoff is a writer fascinated by gender and his latest book
continues to explore that theme. Written in dual perspectives - a boy named Lesh, a girl named Svetlana – the story is about identity in the world of gaming, whether that be table-top D&D, World of Warcraft and LARPing – Live Action Role Playing. This story reminds us that we’re all playing a role in adolescence; we’re all scrabbling after some kind of easy markers of identity when we’re young and old. It’s also a very funny book and you don’t need to like gaming to enjoy it, either.

Thanks Carrie for this awesome guest post and introducing me to some awesome new books and authors.

If you would like to win a copy of Carrie's book, Sex & Violence please click here:  Sex & Violence Giveaway

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home

The Heart of All That Is:  Reflections on Home
Edited by Jim Perlman, Deborah Cooper, Mara Hart, Pamela Mittlefehldt

Home is where your heart is.  Home is the underlying theme of literature and at the heart of all our lives.  In this lovely edition several authors and poets contributed their poems and prose surrounding the theme of home.  The book is broken into six parts, based on themes the submitted work had in common.

I loved this book.  Everyday, I read one poem or work of prose.  I met a new authors (their bios are in the back of the book) or I was reminded of why I enjoy the writing of others.  This was one book I looked forwarded to reading everyday.  I found poems to share with my class.  I found poems that made me laugh, cry, think and ponder.  There are so many good things waiting for you in the pages of this book.

I want to share so many of these poems with you.  They are so good.  I am only going to share one and then you need to read the book for yourself, it will touch your heart.  I think this poem is my favorite but I have many favorites, so it is my favorite today.  Let me know what you think.  I love it.

House of Dreams and Stars and Life
by Charlene Langfur

Today the house is like a lotus, singular, afloat, an artist's piece.

Later, deeper in the night, when I'm asleep, it's on the edge of unsettling land.
Part of it is a boat with float to it, a movable vessel,
a safety net in the middle of what I try to imagine
is coming near.  I hear the house in the night. Its voice. How it sounds in the
is different than in the day.
How it holds us in place in an expanding universe,
a touchstone, lone, readied, the spirit's guide.

This willowy fragile house that holds me in it,
house of dreams and stars and life, an ark of wishes,
a shelter to hold ideas in place and warm the body all at once,
decorated with lucky charms, iconic family pictures
a history of mysterious dreams
and lights in the window seen from far away.
How far? Gravity's angel. Earth. The dog hums. Tides magnetize.
Stories and shelters. A roof to keep it.
And this one, my own is dry, clear, plain.
An embrace of space. House.
A universe patched to another.
From the roof of the house in the night, I see each star, markers
holding me in place
like Chinese lanterns in the summer, like charms in the pocket,
totems, tiny lights against an endless dark.

Earth's mantle, yes, Earth's shelter. It is always more.
Doors and windows. The planet's graces. We know
so much and even so still get lost, the love inside the house
disappeared, nearly gone while out for the afternoon.
In what room did it get lost? Turn sideways.
Clouds ascending. Water in the air. But the house is safe.
As I write this, it is. Worlds moving in orbit
and us aboard the vessel's back.

The simple of it keeps us balanced. Earth moves. The head tilts.
The tides rise. The dog's low deep sound, almost an alarm.
I listen, calm as a child, to the low orderly
music of the spheres. The house, not lost in space this day,
no flying off, no house with wings. It is not gone with a magician's snap
of his fingers. Thunder. Moon rise. Surprise bells on the porch in the night.
Stories on the land in the front yard, stories in the pocket.
House of earth dreams. Shelter in the night. Tonight the house is safe.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Free Audio Books from SYNC

Free Audio Books from Sync.

Sync YA literature into your earphones.

Hey Everyone,

It is time for Free Audio books from

Every week Audio Book Sync gives away two free audio books during the summer.  One Young Adult book paired with One Classic book.
See the schedule listed below and don't miss out.
I love this!  This is my second year participating.  Last year I picked up some great audio and have been listening all school year,  and it has been awesome.

The first two books are available for download now.
Here is the schedule:


May 15 – May 21
WARP: THE RELUCTANT ASSASSIN by Eoin Colfer, Narrated by Maxwell Caulfield (Listening Library)
THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells, Narrated by Derek Jacobi (Listening Library)

May 22 – May 28
CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge, Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden (Harper Audio)
OEDIPUS THE KING by Sophocles, Performed by Michael Sheen and a full cast (Naxos AudioBooks)

May 29 – June 4
CONFESSIONS OF A MURDER SUSPECT by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, Narrated by Emma Galvin (Hachette Audio)
THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE by Agatha Christie, Narrated by Richard E. Grant (Harper Audio)

June 5 – June 11
ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill, Narrated by Meredith Mitchell (Tantor Audio)
JULIUS CAESAR by William Shakespeare, Performed by Richard Dreyfuss, JoBeth Williams, Stacy Keach, Kelsey Grammer, and a full cast (L.A. Theatre Works)

June 12 – June 18
CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, Narrated by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell (Bolinda Audio)
THE HIDING PLACE by Corrie Ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill, Narrated by Bernadette Dunne (christianaudio)

June 19 – June 25
I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter, Narrated by Renée Raudman (Brilliance Audio)
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery, Narrated by Colleen Winton (Post Hypnotic Press)

June 26 – July 2
FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick, Narrated by Noah Galvin (Hachette Audio)
OCTOBER MOURNING: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman, Narrated by Emily Beresford, Luke Daniels, Tom Parks, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, Christina Traister (Brilliance Audio)

July 3 – July 9
TORN FROM TROY by Patrick Bowman, Narrated by Gerard Doyle (Post Hypnotic Press)
PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Narrated by Jim Dale (Brilliance Audio)

July 10 – July 16
CLAUDETTE COLVIN: Twice Toward Justice by Philip Hoose, Narrated by Channie Waites (Brilliance Audio)
WHILE THE WORLD WATCHED by Carolyn Maull McKinstry with Denise George, Narrated by Felicia Bullock (Oasis Audio)

July 17 – July 23
THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE by Nancy Springer, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren (Recorded Books)
THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES II by Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated by David Timson (Naxos AudioBooks)

July 24 – July 30
HEADSTRONG by Patrick Link, Performed by Deidrie Henry, Ernie Hudson, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine and Scott Wolf (L.A. Theatre Works)
THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson, Narrated by Scott Brick (Tantor Audio)

July 31 – August 6
DIVIDED WE FALL by Trent Reedy, Narrated by Andrew Eiden (Scholastic Audio)
THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane, Narrated by Frank Muller (Recorded Books)

August 7 – August 13
LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS by Ben Lesser, Narrated by Jonathan Silverman and Ben Lesser (Remembrance Publishing)
THE SHAWL by Cynthia Ozick, Narrated by Yelena Shmulenson (HighBridge Audio)
Tool kit now available!


Please share, so others can enjoy too.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Twin Cities Teen Lit Con 2014

Twin Cities Teen Lit Con 2014

Yesterday a bunch of amazing authors gathered for the Twin Cities teen lit conference.  The day started with a panel of Q & A with authors, Ally Condie, Maureen Johnson, David Levithan and Derf Beckderf.  Then all bets were off as people lined up for author signings, book sales, literary button making, book arts and a variety of author presentations.  So much to do and so little time.

Many Minnesota authors were in attendance and I am happy to say, that I have read most of their books. The great Minnesota authors that presented are Swathi Avasthi, Carrie Mesrobian, Geoff Herbach, Anne Greenwood Brown, Brian Farrey and Pete Hautman.  You need to read a book by each of these amazing YA authors.  I also ran into Kelly Barnhill and she will be featured on Booksnob in August.  Minnesota has the best writers in the world.

So here is my day in a nutshell:

After I attended the author panel Q & A, I went to see an awesome presentation by Derf Backderf on his graphic novel My Friend Dahmer.  Derf grew up with Jeffrey Dahmer and his book chronicles his high school years and Dahmer's decline into madness.  Two weeks after his graduation Dahmer killed his first victim.

My Friend Dahmer took Derf 20 years to create.  He kept a journal during high school full of sketches and used the FBI files and the interviews done with Dahmer to help create his book.  It is ultimately a book about how we treat people and a book about failure.  There are no murders or killing in the book.

Next I went to see Maureen Johnson speak.  This woman is hilarious and quirky and I think I want to be her new best friend.  She went to theater school and I could tell.  This is the first time I have heard of Maureen Johnson but I have seen her books out in the blogasphere.  So now I'm going to read them. Her Shades of London series sounds amazing as well as does 13 Little Blue Envelopes.  I bought The Madness Underneath and Maureen wrote a secret message at the end of the book and said No Peeking.  I don't know how I will resist.

Next I went to see David Levithan.  I LOVE the way David Levithan writes.  He is one of the most creative writers out there in teen lit today.  In fact he is the type of writer I aspire to be everyday.  He read from the first chapter of his new book which is narrated by the girl in Everyday, Rihannon.  I am going to have to wait a year for it to come out in publication but it was awesome to hear David read from it.

Lastly, I went to see Ally Condie speak about her book trilogy Matched.  It has been optioned by Disney for a film.  She is a mother of four and a former high school English teacher.  She quit her job when her first child was born and now writes full time.  I hate to admit it but I have not read this series yet, so I bought the first book and had her sign it.  She had a great presentation and also showed us a little bit about her new series coming out in the Fall.  We are not supposed to talk about it, but it sounds like a winner.

I want to send out a big thank you to everyone who planned this amazing event.  Thanks Melsa, MN Book Arts, Mackin and Addendum books.  Please do it again next year.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders by Geoff Herbach

Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders by Geoff Herbach

It's the band geeks against the dancing cheerleaders in the Spunk River war.  They are fighting over control of the school pop machine.  The pop machine proceeds are supposed to fund the band and summer camp but not anymore.  The funds were absconded by the cheerleaders and Gabe is raving mad and plans to do something about it.  He organizes the music lovers of his school in a planned protest over the summer, eventually getting caught stealing from the pop machine.

Gabe put a lot of money into the pop machine buying 2-6 cans of Mountain Dew Code Red everyday.  Over the year he has gained a large amount of weight and everyone is calling him Chunks.  His mom left and moved to Japan, his dad is emotionally unstable and his grandpa has moved in.  Gabe's life is topsy turvy but he has big plans to take charge of it, starting with the pop machine.

Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders is told entirely from Gabe's point of view as he gives his deposition to attorney at law, Henry Rodriquez.  There is witty dialog, funny scenes, and unbelievable crazy teen antics.  Gabe is an unlikely, inspiring hero who undergoes a metamorphosis within the pages of Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders.

Herbach does an excellent job of tackling serious teen issues in a funny and interesting way.  His characters are unique and beautifully flawed (albiet a little bit crazy) and it is their flaws which you grow to love and keep you turning the pages.  The storyline is fresh and it teaches each and everyone of us that you have the power within yourself to change your own little corner of the world.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sex & Violence Giveaway

Sex & Violence Giveaway

Carrie Mesrobian is the May Author in the Spotlight here on BookSnob and she is giving away two copies of her award winning young adult novel, Sex & Violence to U. S. followers.  Sex &Violence recently won the Minnesota Book Award.  You are gonna love this book!  Carrie is the new YA author to watch and she is writing up a storm of good books.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:


Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan Carter. He has a strategy--knows the profile of The Girl Who Would Say Yes. In each new town, each new school, he can count on plenty of action before he and his father move again. Getting down is never a problem. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time.


After an assault that leaves Evan bleeding and broken, his father takes him to the family cabin in rural Pearl Lake, Minnesota, so Evan's body can heal. But what about his mind?


Nothing seems natural to Evan anymore. Nothing seems safe. The fear--and the guilt--are inescapable. He can't sort out how he feels about anyone, least of all himself. Evan's really never known another person well, and Pearl Lake is the kind of place where people know everything about each other--where there might be other reasons to talk to a girl. It's annoying as hell. It might also be Evan's best shot to untangle sex and violence.

Contest Rules:
Fill out the form.
U.S. residents only
Ends June 1st at midnight
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Stupid Fast Trilogy Giveaway Winner!

Stupid Fast Trilogy Giveaway Winner!

Geoff Herbach was the April Author in the Spotlight here on BookSnob and he has graciously decided to giveaway one set of his Stupid Fast trilogy to one BookSnob follower who lives in the U.S./Canada.  That is 3 awesome books in one giveaway people!

1.  Stupid Fast
2.  Nothing Special
3.  I'm With Stupid

And the lucky winner is:

Ann V. from Ohio

Congrats Ann.  I hope you enjoy your new books.

Here is an excerpt from my review of Stupid Fast:
Stupid Fast is a rare look at the awkward phase of adolescence, of going from a regular, shy kind of guy to a super jock.  Felton is a lovable character that has to figure out how to navigate his new body and speed and all the attention he is getting with no support from his family.  Stupid Fast is a mix of funny action with a little bit of crazy thrown in .  If you want to get inside the mind of a teenage boy, Stupid Fast is your gateway ticket.  Herbach does an excellent job of capturing the teen experience in Stupid Fast.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Announcing the May Author in the Spotlight

Announcing the May Author in the Spotlight

Happy May Day Everyone!!  My students are walking in the annual Heart of the Beast May Day Parade on May 4th this year.  They have been hard at work for the past month making masks as part of the parade theme.  Pay attention to my Facebook page as I will post pics on Sunday.

This month's author recently won the Minnesota Book Award for her first book and just released the cover of her second book TODAY!!  We met at a author event, in January when she introduced Laurie Halse Anderson.

I am so happy to feature Young Adult author, Carrie Mesrobian.  Her books are going to knock your socks off.

Here are the synopsis from Goodreads:

Sex & Violence


Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan Carter. He has a strategy--knows the profile of The Girl Who Would Say Yes. In each new town, each new school, he can count on plenty of action before he and his father move again. Getting down is never a problem. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time.


After an assault that leaves Evan bleeding and broken, his father takes him to the family cabin in rural Pearl Lake, Minnesota, so Evan's body can heal. But what about his mind?


Nothing seems natural to Evan anymore. Nothing seems safe. The fear--and the guilt--are inescapable. He can't sort out how he feels about anyone, least of all himself. Evan's really never known another person well, and Pearl Lake is the kind of place where people know everything about each other--where there might be other reasons to talk to a girl. It's annoying as hell. It might also be Evan's best shot to
untangle sex and violence.

Perfectly Good White Boy (to be released in Oct, 2014)

Sean Norwhalt can read between the lines.

"You never know where we'll end up. There's so much possibility in life, you know?" Hallie said.

He knows she just dumped him. He was a perfectly good summer boyfriend, but now she's off to college, and he's still got another year to go. Her pep talk about futures and "possibilities" isn't exactly comforting. Sean's pretty sure he's seen his future and its "possibilities" and they all look disposable.

Like the crappy rental his family moved into when his dad left.

Like all the unwanted filthy old clothes he stuffs into the rag baler at his thrift store job.

Like everything good he's ever known.

The only hopeful possibilities in Sean's life are the Marine Corps, where no one expected he'd go, and Neecie Albertson, whom he never expected to care about.

"We're something else. Some other thing. I don't know what you'd call it. Maybe there's a word, though. Maybe I'll think of it tomorrow, when it won't matter," Neecie said.

May is going to be an awesome month.  You can expect two book reviews ( I got an early ARC of Perfectly Good White Boy.  Yay), a contest, an author interview and a guest post.  Please visit Carrie at  Be sure to tell her I said Hello!!

Perfectly Good White Boy Cover Reveal

Perfectly Good White Boy Cover Reveal

Carrie Mesrobian is a Young Adult writer from Minnesota and she recently won the MN book award for her first book Sex and Violence.  Today, the ARCs are ready and the cover is revealed for her second book, Perfectly Good White Boy.  I Love This Cover!!

Read on to see some of the first reviews for Perfectly Good White Boy and for an excerpt from the book.  Then add Perfectly Good White Boy to your Goodreads shelf.

Reviews for Perfectly Good White Boy:
Raw and unflinching, this is a skilled portrait of an eighteen-year-old on the edge of making a decision that will shape the whole rest of his life. Carrie Mesrobian is a truly fearless writer, one to envy and watch.
—Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone
"Carrie Mesrobian writes with a raw, courageous honesty that begs readers to pay attention.  Perfectly Good White Boy is a perfectly great, moving, and memorable story about growing up in an often ridiculous world."
- John Corey Whaley, Printz Award-winning author of Where Things Come Back and Noggin 
The whole thing hadn’t lasted more than fifteen minutes, and now I smelled like fabric softener sheets, which kind of gave me a headache. That and Hallie’s words kept piling up in my head. The few ones she said.

I stopped at the light before the turnoff to my house. I was the only car there. Sitting at the light, my car wasting gas.

“Touch me there,” Hallie said. “Like this.”

The light kept being red. A truck roared past me.

“Not like that,” Hallie said.

I did what she said, but I hadn’t been sure about what I was doing, or even how it was that different from what I ever did before when I touched her down there. She wore a pair of panties that I’d never seen before. They didn’t match her bra, but that was maybe because it was a sports bra.

The light changed and I turned, heading down the freeway toward my house.

“Thanks for coming over.”

My house was dark. Dark as hers had been. My mom’s car was there. I heard Otis bark as I climbed up the steps.

My mom didn’t get up when I came in. Normally, she liked me to come in and say goodnight to her, and usually I did, unless I was too wasted or something. Then I’d just holler from the hallway that I was home. But now, completely sober, I couldn’t stand the idea of seeing my mom. Felt like I had Hallie all over me.

Hallie sitting on the stupid dryer, saying oh god and I don’t know what it was, but I just felt crazy and I wanted to go down on her, something she’d never allowed before. The dryer, of all things, made this the perfect access, too, with my height, but when I ducked my head down, she wasn’t having it.

She pushed off the dryer and then we were on the cold concrete floor and I was a little pissed.

Another goddamn rule.

But I was on top of her now, and she was grabbing me through my jeans and I didn’t care.

“That’s good.”

My head totally spinning with that. What had I been doing? Was she talking about my boner? I didn’t know what was going on. But she’d just handed me a condom and that was that.

Then, when I was about to come, she said, “Don’t stop.” Like she knew it was almost over. That I couldn’t stop. And I didn’t know if it was still good. I couldn’t ask her, either. But I didn’t stop. Then her eyes closed and it seemed like something important was happening, but by then I was coming anyway and it was all so much, so awesome and feeling so good and she was so beautiful and everything felt better than I remembered it so I couldn’t stop myself from saying it, again, words I hadn’t said in weeks:

“God, I love you so much.”

Then I squeezed her so hard, in case she didn’t get it. That I’d said it. But she didn’t say anything. Her eyes were closed. There was a pink sock right by her head, curled into a ball.

I lifted off her a bit. Felt the grit from the concrete on my palms. Hallie’s eyes still closed, like she was pretending to be dead or something. The second I pulled out of her, her breathing start to get back to normal, and then I noticed how cold the room was. And quiet, except for my words echoing in my head:

“God I love you so much.”

Just remembering saying that made me feel sick.

In my room, Otis jumped on my bed. Too tense to sleep, I took off my shirt and did some push-ups. Laid there again until Otis jumped down to lick my face. Waited to hear my mom call for me. She sometimes did that, after all my moving around woke her fully up.

But tonight, nothing. The whole house was still. I could hear the water heater shrieking down the hall from me.

Hallie, putting her clothes back on. Me, tying the condom in a knot over the utility sink, then wrapping it in the dryer sheet she gave me. Hallie, slipping the whole white ball into my hoodie pocket. Like it was a souvenir. A present. Like it was Tupperware I’d brought to a party and she wanted to make sure it went home with me.

Then she handed me my hoodie.

“Thanks for coming over.”

I stared at her. A bit of hair was caught in the neck of her T-shirt. I wanted to pick it out, but I couldn’t move. Because I hated her so much. Loved her so much. Wished I had her naked boob pictures, so I could send them to everyone I knew in the world. But she’d been too smart for that, which made me hate her more. Loved how she smelled, how she felt. Hated the little white ball of cum in my pocket.

“My parents could be back any minute now,” she said. “They don’t even know I’m home yet. You should probably go.”

Dumb as a dog, I walked back through the dark house, following her as she turned on a few lights here and there. Then I slid open the glass door, not even saying good-bye, and stepped into my own footprints in the snow on the deck, half full of more snow now, since it was snowing again, thin streams of flakes as I reversed the trip, cutting through the same backyards, the same little park, the duck ditch covered in snow. Before I got in my car, I chucked the dryer sheet condom into a snowbank. It didn’t even make a sound, and the little dimple where it landed filled up soon enough. Little condom-print, vanished.