Ilsa Bick…OMG! Cannot wait for Shadows!

Shadows: The sequel to Ashes

Ashes totally (TOTALLY) freaked me out! I mean, I had to stop reading it at night. It was awesome and scary and creepy…I loved it!

So, Shadows is coming out soon (9/25/12). I am lucky and I get to read it early (Yay!). I’m starting it tonight. YAY! I hope that it terrifies me and pulls me in like Ashes did. I’m betting it will!

Didn’t read Ashes? GO READ IT RIGHT NOW! For reals, it totally rocked my face off!!

Have you read Ashes? I’d love to know what you thought!

You’re Killing Me, Smalls! & 2 Thank Yous: AS King & my parents rock!

More Mandee Monday-You’re Killing Me,  Smalls!

So, a normal person would be excited when their favorite author announces a new book. A normal person would just pre-order it and wait excitedly. A normal person would check their blog from time to time and read updates and such.

There hasn’t been any normal in my life since,

well, never. 

I wanted to be a garbage man (yes, MAN) when I was 3. My mom let me get up early and watch the garbage men when they picked up our trash and I still remember peeking out the window and waving to them with a huge smile on my cute little face (I was pretty darn cute, I must say!) I was a puppy for several weeks (again, yes, WEEKS) when I was four. I barked, ate from a bowl, but thankfully used the potty like a person. (WHEW!). There was also a waitress phase. We turned the kitchen into The Hobit Hotel (my Mama started reading me Tolkien when I was 2). I took orders on my little notepad and brought out the food. It was hysterical. My dad, Popi, and I would then sit down and figure out the one thing that wasn’t on the table. We’d then wait until Mama sat down (finally) to eat to ask for it. She’d yell something about our legs being broken or how we’d be sorry when she was gone. Then she’d go get whatever we wanted and kiss us on the head.  I have at least a million more of these stories about my parents and how they totally rocked my little kid world and shaped me into someone who laughs and smiles and cares and really gives a darn about people.

Now back to my point: A normal person would be ecstatic at the news that their ultimate favorite author (YES, YOU, AS KING! YOU!!). And, don’t get me wrong, I totally am. But, I’m also a total brat-face and I can’t wait.

I. CANNOT. WAIT! 

There are so many awesome books out there that I am dying to read. There are new books, series finales (Lauren DeStefano’s SEVER immediately jumps to mind), and a my towering TBR piles.  I should really just hush and read and be happy. But, I can’t do that! I’m an only child. Waiting makes me go all Crazy Town Banana Pants! (Do you watch Community? If not, OMG-Go Freaking Watch It For Real Life!)

So, what’s my point here? Well, I have two. (possibly more, but I’m not a math person).

1. Thank you, AS King,  who I totally freaking love as an awesome author & totally fun person (BTW: not at all in a creepy stalker!) kind of way! You say what needs to be said. You are a survivor and I respect the hell out of you for your awesome stand against bullying. You shove it in the faces of people who need it shoved there (and other places I shall not name here). You find joy in things that matter. You just TOTALLY FREAKING ROCK! Mostly, though, You write these EPIC books that sink into my soul! They sit there and become part of me in a way that makes me stronger & better. You hit home with kids who don’t think anyone gets it. Then they read your books and feel like someone really does know what nobody else understands. Sometimes that is one of my students or a kid who I know really needs you. Sometimes it is someone in a book store or a library that I don’t know. Sometimes it is me. Really, your writing makes me hurl your books into people’s hands and scream, “READ THIS RIGHT NOW!!”  The Dust of 100 Dogs had me shoving the text in people’s hands! Please Ignore Vera Dietz shook my world. Everybody Sees the Ants, wow! Just wow!

I really super totally want to read Ask the Passengers immediately! I cannot wait for Reality Boy!

Simply put:

You’re Killing Me Smalls! 

2. Thank you, Mama & Popi! My parents are awesome. I’m lucky to have been raised by people who loved me & wanted me. I used to think Popi and I were kids together. I used to say, “Popi, remember when we were little and we . . .” My Mama says that we were loved more in one day than most people are loved in their whole lives. It’s true, too.  Maybe the dishes sat in the sink some nights, maybe we didn’t have a whole bunch of money. Who cares! I sure didn’t. They made me KNOW that I could do anything I wanted to do. They showed me what the real deal was, but made it fun, too! They read to me, let me be what & who I needed to be, picked up the shredded bits of my heart a zillion times when things totally sucked,&  they made me proud to be their kid! My Mama showed me what real love means when we cared for Popi as we slowly watched cancer take over his life. We were able to laugh then, too, in between times of nightmares and oceans of loss. They made me realize what I’m worth and taught me what marriage really means. Schmoopy and I can proudly base our marriage on those of our parents. My model for love is the truest example. There aren’t really words in English or any other language to explain these two amazing people.

 These two amazing people raised me with so much love & laughter & hope & peace.
I’m the luckiest kid ever!  

I do realize that to many this post seems to be about two totally different things. But it isn’t. The way I was raised and they way that AS King writes really do belong together. And I don’t really need for anyone but me to get that.

Shadow & Bone Rocks!

I’m reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. It is rocking my world.

So. Freaking. Amazing!

Poor orphan children, war, creepy evil volcra things, magic, mystical powers, wealth, opulence, secrets, and a mysteriously magical Darkling. Oh, there’s tons of drama, so much awesome drama! And I’m only half way through the book!

Leigh Bardugo is brilliant in an epic way! I can’t put the book down & I’m so pumped to know that it is the first book of a trilogy! So much win going on here!!

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5 Blings! for Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to NOT Reading by @TommyGreenwald

Charlie Joe Jackson Bling!

Oh, Charlie Joe Jackson! You are a funny guy! I really enjoyed your guide to NOT reading!

What a great book! I love that it had elements of some of my favorite Middle Grade reads: The touching voice of The Wednesday Wars, the comedy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the silliness of Big Nate, and the cleverness of Origami Yoda! That’s quite a combo of awesome right there! 

The advice is great…only read books with short chapters, reading won’t help you succeed in life, never buy a book by someone whose name you can’t pronounce (and many more awesome tips!). I also love your excellent taste in music & your keen observations of those around you: Don’t call girls hot, because they, according to CJJ’s Mom, “think it’s insulting, “degrading” . . .  or “shallow.”” But giving them a theme song is pretty OK: “Hurrican Eliza comin’ in, the hottest hurricane in town” or “The thing about dogs is, they pretty much reflect the mood in the house.”

You are a smart guy, too, Charlie Joe. And I can’t blame you for hating to read. Your dad really did ruin it for you when you were little. I feel your pain, dude!  I, too, was jailed on a book-related infraction! I remember, with a shudder, all these years later, being locked on the porch one Sunday afternoon and not being allowed to enter the house until I finished some Little House book that I TOTALLY HATED for a book report due Monday (I think I was allowed in to pee, but I’m not 100% sure).

But guess what! I love reading now! I even became a teacher so I could get others excited about good books! What do you think about that, Charlie Joe?

If you don’t know Charlie Joe Jackson, you’re going to want to meet him right away! I’m SO ready for his next book, Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Extra Credit! September seems too far away!

5 Blings!

 

The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake Illustrated by Adam Rex

I am in love with The Dirty Cowboy! Just WOW!

The Dirty Cowboy Gets 5 Blings!

Hysterical, beautiful, and endearing, The Dirty Cowboy was fun and engaging! I’ll surely be buying this for all the little beasts and monsters in my life-those who will take a bath and those who refuse! I have a feeling that we’ll just be calling it the naked book for a while, but that’s OK!

Thank you Amy Timberlake & Adam Rex for a sure to be classic (even though some crazy people want it banned!).

5 Blings! for Megan McCafferty’s THUMPED!

I loved Thumped! 

 

 

 

 

5 Blings for Thumped!                    
Here’s what Schmoopy and I were reading on our flight to Chicago. We both finished on our books during the  flight home! Since I got this His & Hers idea after takeoff, he really couldn’t refuse my request *evil grin*

I was totally reluctant to read Thumped! I didn’t like Bumped, not one bit. I even threw it across the room when I finished the last page (yes, I put myself in time-out after that).

After reading Thumped, I see that I just didn’t get Bumped. I read it at a point of my life that wasn’t the best time to read a book about kids and babies and infertility and all that. I get that now. Let’s just call it bad timing on my part.

This week I read Thumped and really appreciated it. I laughed and cried in all the right places. I got the clever use of language and appreciated how Megan McCafferty created this super believable, yet terrifyingly realistic, world in the not too distant future where all of this could totally happen. I loved all the language and creative names of everything. So clever! She also expertly crafted a fun read that calls attention to serious issues. That is no easy task. I won’t get political or talk religion, but I do appreciate her attention to both and the way Bumped & Thumped will get some people thinking about things in a way they may not have before. To accomplish that in a way that is both nonthreatening & entertaining is super impressive! I also loved the familiar references to Princeton, NJ (very close to where I grew up). So fun!

I don’t think I need to re-read Bumped, but I do have a new appreciation and respect for both books now!
I give them both 5 Blings!

Get Bumped & Thumped for yourself at your local library, your favorite independent bookstore, or online by clicking the pictures below:

The Post Where My Worlds Collide: Chicago Edition

This week I’m in Chicago at the International Reading Association’s 57th Annual Convention.

IRA 2012 Chicago

Two of my favorite things are combined: Reading and Education!

I don’t usually mix my two social media personalities, but this week Books and Bling and on Literacy Everywhere are mixing together in an epic pairing of awesome!

Yesterday, Schmoopy and I took a LONG WALK to see where Merit of the Chicgoland Vampire books lives-Go Cadogan!. Chloe Neill even posted my pic on her blog!

Cadogan House!

This morning, I got to see Dr. Steve Perry speak. He was really inspiring!

Dr. Steve Perry at IRA 2012

Then I met Michael Buckley and he loved the Bling! I’m a huge fan of his NERDS series! He is just as awesome in person as I thought he’d be!

Michael Buckley & the BLING!

 

Awesome NERDS Signed Copy Bling! YAY!

Next, I heard Nick Bruel speak and got him to sign some Bad Kitty books for me. I even snagged one of his Bad Kitty drawings from his presentation. AWESOME!

Bad Kitty for President! You’ve got my vote!

 

Bad Kitty Sketch!

Basically, I’m learning tons and fangirling my way through this awesome town! Well, we’re eating a ton of great food, too! Chicago is super yummy!

 

 

 

Touring Chicago Merit Style with a little help from Chloe Neill!

Schmoopy and I are in Chicago for the International Reading Association convention. It starts on Monday, so today we had some tourist time!

We  got to spend the day doing some sightseeing.

Of course, I needed to see where Merit, from the awesome Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire series, lives.

I sent a little Tweet out to Chloe Neill asking for some pointers on Cadogan House and she totally replied!

Massive FANGIRLING episode ensued!

 

So, Schmoopy and I hit up the local Starbucks and started walking. 2.1 miles (Yup, miles were walked. That’s serious!!) later, we were there. We stopped along the way to do some super fun touristy stuff that I’ll post later, but my goal was Cadogan all the way.

Cadogan House

Unfortunately, it was daylight, so Merit was sleeping. They say it is the US Soccer House, nice cover, but I know the truth.

Then, to take my FanGirl’s Guide to Chicago a step further, Chloe Neill asked me if she could post my picture (my. freaking. picture!) on her blog. What the what? Can you say YES any faster than I did?

Check it out here:

Cadogan House’s Architectural Inspiration

So, my day was EPIC! Totally, vampirely, wickedly, awesomely, EPIC!

Bling Worthy Books now on Tumblr!

Check out my list of awesomely Bling Worthy Books on Tumblr. I’ll keep adding to the list. It’s super easy and fun!

Basically, this is an epic list of books that I think are worthy of major Bling! 

Do you have a Bling Worthy Book to suggest? I’d love to hear about it! 

 

 

*Full Disclosure! These are all books that I've read or that books that I've heard amazing things about and REALLY want to read. If you'd like to buy one of these books for me, that would ROCK! Also, as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, if you decide to purchase the books through my links I'll get compensated from Amazon (assuming I set it up correctly...who knows!). I'll use that $ to maintain this blog, buy more books, and run contests.