Reality Boy by A.S. King

A. S. King is one of my writing heroes. Her books just amaze me. I don’t know how she does it, but I’m so thankful for the magical way she puts words together. Her books really make the world more awesome!

When Amy at Lady Reader’s Book Stuff asked me to be part of her Red Carpet Book Tour of Reality Boy, I couldn’t say yes fast enough!

Then I got the book in the mail and this happened:
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This was meant to be. Jane’s Addiction is my all time favorite band. OMG! is an understatement!! And, as usual, King’s writing doesn’t disappoint. Reality Boy is freaking EPIC.

I dove right in and was immediately hooked. Gerald was on a reality show when he was five. He had this bad habit of pooping in unusual places, like the dining room table or mom’s favorite shoes, when he was angry. He was crying out for help, but he never really got the help he needed. Even all these years later people still call him Crapper. It haunts him. His older sister, Tasha, tortures him constantly and relentlessly, his other sister, Lisi, took off for college on the other side of the world as soon as she could. His dad works and drinks to forget, and his mom totally ignores all of the insanely disgusting things Tasha does (think loud bedroom noises coming from the basement while the rest of the family is eating dinner). Gerald is trying to keep himself together, use techniques he’s learning in anger management,

I really wanted to jump into Gerald’s life and save him. Ugh! I had to put the book down several times because I was so freaking angry. That’s a great story!

Reality Boy is a must read. A total 5 Bling Book!

If you click the link above, I will earn a small profit from Amazon. Any proceeds are used to buy books for my 8th grader students and for blog prizes.

Sending ASK THE PASSENGERS my love!

5 Blings for Ask the Passengers

5 Blings! for Ask the Passengers

Wow! I just finished A.S. King’s ASK THE PASSENGERS. Her words live, as they always do, like magic, like the perfect hug, like a tattoo that gets inked onto all that you are and ever were, like the one thing you need to hear at the right time to know that everything really will be ok.

Sending you my love, but not all of it. ♥

Read ASK THE PASSENGERS. Your heart will thank you.

Here’s my thank you to Amy for these amazing words:

I just finished Ask the Passengers. I’m sending you my love. But not all of it. Just enough for you to know that you are so loved and your words are beautiful and there are so many that will hold those words close to their hearts the way I am now. I am smiling just thinking about it.
I’m also kind of upset that I pronounce Socrates wrong in my head, every time, because of Bill & Ted. Maybe I should send them some of my love, too.
Thank you for all of the ♥

Please remember that love is love.

We all have love to give and we are all worthy of being loved. 

 

Finally! AS King’s New Book!! Ask the Passengers!

Yup, I totally love A.S. King. She rocks my whole face off.

I’ve been waiting for this book for at least a million years (or a few months, whatevs). It arrived on my doorstep Friday. And I devoured it. I love it. I kinda wanna marry it. (just kidding…maybe).

Go read it. Now! 

Ask the Passengers ROCKS! 5 Blings!

I don’t even get mad (just sad) that she isn’t at the book events I go to. Why? Because she keeps writing awesome books…but I do want to meet her someday. Totally say hey, hang, and buy her a round or two. Instant BFF’s-I think so!

Check out what she has in the works (more things for me to love, and pet, and drool on):

Printz Honor author A.S. King’s REALITY BOY, in which an infamous reality TV child star, now a damaged teenage boy, meets a girl who forces him out of his angry shell before they run away and send their dysfunctional families a list of demands that must be met in order for them to come back, to Andrea Spooner at Little, Brown Children’s, for publication in Fall 2013, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World English).

Luke Reynolds, ed.’s BREAK THESE RULES, an anthology of first-person accounts from leading authors for teens (including Sara Zarr, Kathryn Erskine, A.S. King and Gary Schmidt, and many others), from which all royalties will be donated to the Children’s Defense Fund, to Lisa Reardon at Chicago Review Press, by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World).

Today I am…joining a LGBT reading event!

Today I am…Joining a LGBT reading event.

The mega awesome Roof Beam Reader is hosting THE LITERARY OTHERS: AN LGBT READING EVENT in October. I’m totally participating!

I’m jumping in because equality is an issue that I am passionate about. Sometimes people ask me why LGBT rights are such a big issue to me when I am not LGBT myself. The short answer is this: I believe that love is love and I believe in always doing the kindest thing. Supporting equality, human rights, love, and kindness are always the right things to me. It is also a great reason to read two books that have been hanging on by TBR pile for a while now. I’m going to read:

  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I just met him at the Decatur Book Festival (He is awesome!!) and I’ve been wanting to read this forever. So this is all win for me! I just started Every Day and I love it already!
  • Shine by Lauren Myracle: I’ve had Shine for a while now. I was going to go see her speak last year, but I was super sick that day. So, now I’m pulling it out again and going for it.  Again, all kinds of win here!!

Go check out the awesome Roof Beam Reader. I hope you join in, too!

YAY BOOKS!

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.

Proud to be Nerdy!

Two Worlds Collide!

Today, my books and bling life and literacy teacher life get to collide again. I love when this happens!

I love reading. Even more that that, I love people who love reading!

So, when I had the chance to write a post for the awesome Nerdy Book Club, I was all in! These are my people! I feel so at home with the Nerdy Book Club. Though I try to visit a variety of blogs, this is the one I never miss!

Check it out here: http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/my-kids-hate-reading/

I hope you join all the Nerdy Book Club awesomeness! It really is great to be Nerdy!

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!

 

TGIF Question of the Week: A sad story

Ginger, from GReads!, has these awesome TGIF posts with really fun questions! I’m jumping in again this week, but with a warning:  My answer isn’t a happy one.  So, if you don’t want to read something sad, and I don’t blame you, then go ahead and skip this post.

A Book Blogger is Born:

What made you decide to 
start your very own book blog?

 

I started my book blog when I was going through a time of personal and emotional HELL! What started out as the best year of my life, quickly feel apart. In short, I had my dream job and Schmoopy and I were finally (finally, finally, finally after years of trying) going to have a baby. It was a time of true peace and bliss in our lives. It didn’t last.

There were plus signs and blood tests. There were ultrasounds and heartbeats. There were 13 weeks of complete euphoria. I was one of those annoying pregnant people that smiled every time I puked. It was just like heaven.

Then we went to visit to a new doctor for some testing (since I’m in the “kinda old to be pregnant” category, we needed to get some extra tests done). During the ultrasound, the tech, who we didn’t know, was making that “uh-oh” face. She said she’d be right back. I knew something was wrong. We were told by another stranger (a very nice doctor that I can’t help but despise) told us that our baby had no heartbeat. There aren’t words to describe this. We were broken. We were completely and utterly broken. Broken and shocked. This wasn’t supposed to happen. That was September 29, 2010. I had surgery on October 1. The recovery was awful. I was deeply depressed. I was in pain, both physically and emotionally.   I really was broken. There were nightmares, and pills that made me feel like I was being stabbed, and people that said the most horrible things. If you aren’t sure what I mean by this, please check this post by Devan at Unspoken Grief. There was a lot of healing that needed to happen in my heart and mind. My body was working against me and it seemed that everyone else was, too. If someone you know tells you that they’ve miscarried, love them, support them, express how truly sorry you are, and more than anything, keep your opinions and advice to your self.

As my world shattered (this may sound extreme, but it is actually an gross understatement), my work was also falling apart. My position wasn’t going to be renewed (budget cuts) and I was told that I’d be spending the rest of the year filling in at different spots throughout the building. Just like that, the dream job was slipping away, too. Isn’t there some saying about how long the fall is when you are on top of the world?! At almost the same time, my personal and professional life crashed.

Real depression is painful. It hurts. It also makes everyone who loves you hurt, too. Sometimes it brings out the worst in people. I will never understand why, but it’s true. Simple human kindness isn’t as common as I always believed it to be. And at the same time, the kindness of strangers is sometimes so powerfully beautiful that I almost can’t comprehend it. I’ll never know why some people act the way they do, especially when someone is in so much pain. I do know that most people are kind. I also know that I don’t have room in my heart or life for those that are unkind. What a horrible learning experience. I cannot even explain how amazing my husband was during all of this. I was completely broken and he stayed so strong. I know now that his heart was just as broken as mine, but I couldn’t do anything but breathe (and some days that was a struggle). He was perfect. He was everything I needed him to be. He found his healing through helping me. He really is my greatest blessing. I love that man!

In the spring of 2011, when I was just beginning to feel human again, I decided to start something positive. My love for reading and a silly little tradition of me taking pictures of my engagement ring (When Schmoopy and I got engaged, I started posting pictures of our Adventures in Bling!) came together into this blog. It was such a major part of my healing. I’ve met so many amazing people and learned so many new things. It’s been a little over a year now and I’m still learning as much as I can and trying to interact with as many wonderful people as possible.

That’s the long, sad story of Books and Bling! There is still healing to be done, unanswered questions about our future family, and lots to learn. Wow, this really made me feel better!

While this journey was born out of true tragedy,

it really is leading to a very happy ending!  

Please remember to be kind, always!

 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go Gets 4 Blings!

Wow!

Never Let Me Go is a simple story, yet so complex. There isn’t much I can say without giving away important information about the plot.

I will say that the story of Hailsham students sounds so calm and beautiful, but quickly begins to hint that all is not quite right in this tranquil setting.

It is a beautiful story. I think I will find myself thinking of it often. A story that that at feels effortless yet intricate at once. It is told in a gentle rhythm, and it left me in a state of awe.

Also, did not know this was a movie. I’m trying to decide if I want to watch it or not.

Have you read Never Let Me Go? Seen the movie? I’d love your thoughts! 

TGIF: My Literary Vacation! Where Would You Go?

I heard about this cool Friday question from Smash Attack Reads! I love her awesome book blog!

Today she posted about GReads! TGIF Question and I loved it! So, today I’m playing along!

Today’s Question: 

Literary Vacations: If you could take a trip this summer to any place within a fictional book, where would you go? Tell us about your summer dream vacation!

My answer came pretty quickly, which is funny because I am so not decisive!
I would totally choose Hogwarts! I’ve wanted to be a witch my whole life! Every year on my birthday, I (not so secretly) hope that this will be the year that I get my powers (yup, still hopeful after all these years). My mom teases me and always asks every birthday if it happened. Alas, no such luck yet!

I would LOVE it at Hogwarts. I would totally bring my cat Yankee with me. She’d love it! Poor Shakespeare would have to stay at home, he just isn’t magical enough (sorry Shakes!). I would be all over that castle, checking  out every room, trying out new potions and spells, and staying away from Snape and Filch! It would be EPIC! I just know that I’d be an excellent witch and totally rock that whole place!

This September, we went to NYC for a family reunion and were lucky enough to see Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Discovery Times Square. I loved seeing all the props, costumes, and pictures from the movies. I got to sit in Hagrid’s chair, throw a Quaffle in the Quidditch area, and pull a Mandrake! It was so awesome!  We haven’t made the trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure® theme park yet, but it is on my Oh My Gosh We Need To Do This!! List! We really need to make that happen soon! 

I really want to be a part of that world, especially now that Voldemort isn’t a threat!

What would be your ideal Literary Vacation?